How to Prepare Your Car for the Beast from the East
Posted on 01/03/2018
As storm Emma and the Beast from the East sweep across the UK we have put together a handy guide to help you travel safely.
As the East Midlands is constantly checking their local weather reports, from Nottingham to Loughborough, all getting the same results 'High chance of snow'. We have compiled a list of ways you can keep your car safe.
We would like to stress that drivers should check their local weather report and only travel by car if it's necessary.
Although we should now be expecting Spring like weather, it would seem that quoting Sansa Stark may be more appropriate “winter is here”. With extreme weather conditions forecast for the next few days, here are some key car maintenance checks that Sandicliffe would highly recommend. None of these checks need to be made at a garage or a lengthy afternoon fiddling with your car, just some quick tips that will help to keep you safe while driving in the harsher winter months.
1. Inspect wipers and windscreens
Your windscreen wipers are challenged a lot more in winter due to heavy rain, frost and, even thick snow mixed with leafs getting stuck in them. To maximise visibility no matter what the weather throws at you this season, it’s wise to check your wipers and windscreens for defects or weaknesses that could cause problems when you need them most.
Check the wipers for drag when in motion. The most obvious sign is remaining streaks on the windscreen, a bouncing movement or a high pitch noise. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to buy some replacement wiper blades. If you don’t, you might find that visibility becomes badly impaired. It’s also worth investing in windscreen washer fluid which has quality additives that reduce the chances of freezing, if you are not able to get a hold of some, a quick tip would be to put the wiper arms up when you are parked, to stop it freezing to the windscreen and put a blanket or towel over the windscreen to stop it from icing over. Finally, check the windscreens themselves for cracks or dents, as these could be worsened by bad weather and cause leaks.
Once you are sure that your car’s windscreen and wipers are in complete working condition, we advise that you buy a good quality de-icer and scraper to get rid of ice in the mornings and leave a cloth inside your car to wipe away the mist on the inside of the windscreen.
2. Check the ventilation system
If the ventilation in your car is faulty or of a poor quality, it can cause your car windows to become steamed up – affecting visibility. Not to mention, poor ventilation can make driving conditions uncomfortable. If you notice that your windows become hard to demist even with air conditioning on, see if your current air-conditioning system needs recharging as this be the cause for misted windows, this is something you can do yourself but its recommended you take it to your local garage if you are not experienced enough. If the problem persists, it’s best to invest in a new air conditioning system for your car.
3. Inspect brakes and brake parts
Having good brakes is essential to any car at any time of the year, but it’s important to inspect your brakes and their related components in winter as extra reassurance in wet and icy road conditions. When the road is coated with ice or rain the brakes have to work harder to stop in time. The overall stopping distance is doubled for wet roads and is multiplied by 10 when roads are icy/Snowy, any weaknesses could be very dangerous to you and other drivers around you.
Firstly, check and change your car’s brake fluid if necessary and never drive when the fluid is below the minimum level indicator point. Next, check the brake discs and pads for wear. Brake discs and pads can be replaced yourself if they look out-of-shape, but if you aren’t experienced enough it’s best to visit a service garage.
4. Examine tyres
Your car tyres have a lot to deal with in winter; slick roads, sticky leaves and even black ice being the main culprits. These can be a danger to your car’s handling if your tyres aren’t in optimum condition, so it’s essential that you check them at this time of year. The minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, however, experts recommend, 3 mm in summer and 4 mm in winter, so bare this in mind. Any lower than this and you should have your tyres changed. Also, check your tyres for gashes and scrapes which could cause them to go flat if not repaired.
At Sandicliffe, we can complete thorough tyre replacements and repairs at one of our manufacturer approved service centres in the East Midlands.
If you want to save time we recommend buying snow chains, these are a quick and easy way to give your tyres more grip, they’re a cheaper option from getting all 4 tyres replaced and there is no need to get a professional to fit them, just follow this simple tutorial.
5. Check all light bulbs
As the nights grow darker more quickly in winter, you will need to use your car lights a lot more often. To avoid getting caught out, this is a good time to check that headlights, taillights and indicator lights are all working properly. When it’s darker outside you can’t afford for other drivers to misinterpret your signals due to a failed bulb.
Get a friend to help you check your car lights while the engine is running to be sure. If any of them are faulty, get them replaced as soon as possible. Manufacturer guidelines should explain how to replace car light bulbs yourself, although some headlight replacements do require a visit to your local service garage.
As one of the best all-terrain vehicles the Ford Ranger would be the perfect vehicle to tackle the elements and keep you safe, with its all-wheel drive and a boot big enough to fit sledges, you can still have fun this winter.
Here at Sandicliffe, we provide comprehensive Winter Checks to prepare cars for less forgiving weather. The check is just £19.99 and covers all points above, plus a free winter kit including de-icer, scraper, torch, de-mister pad and windscreen wash. We also offer a seasonal check which includes a AirCon Fresh, Fuel Treatment, Vehicle Health Check for just £39.99, this is great as it covers you for all seasons.
Call 0330 119 2288 to enquire about booking your Winter Check!