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  Winter car care checklist

Cold weather and salty roads can be punishing on a car. Make sure your car is ship shape and ready for the big freeze with this winter car maintenance checklist.

The coolant mixture is especially important in winter to protect against freezing. Coolant needs to be a 50:50 mixture of water and antifreeze. If you’ve had to top up but only added water without antifreeze, get the coolant mixture checked at a garage.

Wipers & Washers
Check the rubber hasn’t cracked or perished and the wipers aren’t leaving streak marks across the screen. Test the washer jets to make sure they aren’t blocked and are pointing where you want them. Most washer jets can be unblocked and repositioned with a pin.

Screen wash
Use a ready mixed winter formula or mix your own screen wash to a higher concentration. Top up every few weeks as you’ll use it much faster than you realise.

Check your lights on a regular basis throughout winter as you’ll be using them a lot more with fewer hours of daylight.

Battery & Alternator
A flat battery is the biggest cause of breakdowns in winter so get it checked before a cold snap arrives. A garage or motor spares store will be able to test the battery and the alternator to make sure it’s charging properly.

Tyre Pressures
Cold temperatures will cause your tyre pressures to fall. Make regular checks, especially in very cold weather.

Tyre Condition
If the tread is getting low, consider having the tyres replaced before the winter arrives. Decent tread depth is vital for good grip in wet conditions. It's also worth considering switching to a set of winter tyres that provide better grip in cold, damp conditions.

Ice scraper & de-icer
Buy them at the start of winter and keep them in the boot. Shops can sell out very quickly when the morning frosts start to arrive! Lock de-icer is useful in severe weather for cars without remote central locking.

A regular wash in winter will protect the bodywork from corrosion caused by salty gritted roads and general grime.

Don't get caught out running on empty. Keep the tank topped up so should you get stuck in a jam you can keep the engine running and stay warm.

Make sure you're dressed for the conditions. If you were to break down, would your clothes keep you warm sitting at the side of a motorway waiting for recovery?

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