Get your car winter-ready

You may have noticed that it’s starting get nippy out there. It’s time to prepare your car before the mercury really drops

1. Do an insulation test on your car’s windows and doors, and on the climate control pipelines. A window that fails to shut fully will turn into an inlet for freezing air in the thick of winter, so ensure the electrics or manual bits are in good working order. Similarly, check door rubbers and liners.

2. Run function tests on your heater. If you suspect that it’s not blowing as hot as expected, wheel the car into a service centre pronto. A non-working heater in winter is a serious danger to your and your family’s health.

3. Don’t forget to monitor windshield defrosters too. Drivers know too well the seriousness of a misted windscreen while driving. Wipers too must be in sound working condition. Ideally, these crucial items must be changed every six months. Avoid passing them as “still fine”. A brittle wiper rapidly disintegrates during cold winter weather, so rather get a new set.

4. Cold weather is particularly brutal on your car’s battery and winter is open season for flat batteries. Have the unit and its charging system checked.

READ MORE: Preserve your rubber

5. Antifreeze – it’s rather self-explanatory, wouldn’t you say, and its use is specific to winter. It’s an additive that lowers the freezing point of water-based liquids, in this case, the water in your vehicle’s cooling system, to avoid freezing on cold nights. Get the radiator system flushed and have the solution topped up in time.

6. Schedule your next service before winter sets in. The cold weather multiplies existing ailments, resulting in sluggish performance and raised fuel consumption so ensure that at least an oil and filter change is done.

7. A few weeks ago we listed ways to preserve your car’s tyres (see link above). A few tips can be lifted from that article and are applicable for winter usage. Maintain tyre pressures. During cold weather regular oxygen escapes from tyres more regularly than in warmer seasons. Also keep an eye on your tyre tread. It’s equally important and should never be at a level below the safe and lawfully recommended depth of 1cm. Good tyre tread ensures better grip in snowy conditions and maintains good surface water dispersion.

8. Check and monitor important safety mechanism like brakes, lights, indicators, traction control systems and such.

9. And as a precautionary measure, you should keep a blanket or two, warm jackets, jumper cables, a torch, and medication you may need in your boot. Murphy’s Law travels with us everywhere.