Winter Car Care: Essential Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for the Cold

Cold weather can have a considerable negative effect on complex machinery. The cars we drive would certainly fall into this category. As they sit on our drives through winter, they’re exposed to freezing temperatures at night time – and often during the day, too. This causes condensation, the expansion and contraction of sensitive metal components, and other mechanical problems.

To avoid all of this, and ensure that your car performs as well as possible for as long as possible, it’s a good idea to take a proactive approach to maintenance and protection. Whilst it’s true that some vehicles, like the Vauxhall Grandland X, are suited to tackling a range of road conditions, it’s also true that cars of every sort will benefit from a schedule of proactive maintenance.

Winter Tyres

Certain kinds of tyres make a better match for icy road conditions. They come with deeper treads, which will distribute standing water and prevent aquaplaning. What’s more, they’ll be made from a different composition of rubber, which will tend to hold its shape better during cold weather, resisting stress and making blowouts less likely.

Battery and Electrical Systems

Your car’s battery will tend to be more vulnerable when the weather is cold. The liquid electrolytes in your car’s battery will have a more difficult time providing energy when the temperature is low – which is why you might struggle to get the car started on a cold winter’s morning.

It’s a good idea to periodically check the alternator and the starter motor to make sure that they’re in good working order. You don’t want to notice that there’s a problem when the car is stuck out in the snow!

Visibility and Lighting

During winter, daylight hours are less plentiful. To be able to see where you’re going, you’ll need lights that work. The same goes for your windscreen wipers, which will need to be able to properly clean the glass without leaving any streaks.

Inspect both of these regularly – especially if the car is sitting idle for extended periods.

Fluids and Antifreeze

Antifreeze is what will prevent your engine from becoming damaged when the temperature drops. It’s one of several fluids that you’ll need to monitor and replenish during winter. The others include screenwash, oil and coolant. You can find antifreeze testers for sale in good shops. Be aware of the different sorts of antifreeze – some of them are toxic to animals, which makes it essential that any leaks are promptly addressed if you’re parking your car outdoors.