Rain, snow, ice and freezing temperatures can take their toll on your car so it’s well worth giving it a bit of care and attention as winter draws in. Here, comparison site for cheap car insurance in the UK, mustard.co.uk, share their 5 top things to check before you get behind the wheel this winter.
1. Tyre tread
By law, tyre treads must be at least 1.6mm in depth and there must be enough tread around the entire tyre. However, in winter, some experts recommend you have at least 3mm worth of tread which should give you better grip along slippery road surfaces.
Remember – the more worn your tyres, the longer your braking distance so it’s especially important to check as the weather worsens.
Some tyres have tread indicators, which are along the main grooves of your tyres. If the tread is the same level as the indicator, you should have them replaced. Alternatively, you can check tyre depth with a 20p piece. Simply put the coin into the groove of the tyre, if you can still see its outer rim, it’s time to take your car to a garage to check and change your tyres if needed.
2. Engine coolant
Newer cars will usually warn you if there’s an issue with your coolant but if not, then it’s good to check coolant levels yourself and top up if needed. Your car handbook should tell you how to do this but you’ll need a mix of 50% water and 50% antifreeze.
You can either buy undiluted antifreeze and mix it with water yourself or you can buy pre-mixed coolant solutions. If you don’t keep your car’s coolant topped up, it could end up with your engine overheating.
3. Windscreen wipers
Check that wipers are working properly and leave your windscreen clear and smear free. You can check their condition by running your finger along the rubber edge, ensuring there are no nicks.
It’s also important to check the windscreen itself for chips or small cracks that could get bigger over the course of winter. If there are any, you can have these filled quickly, and depending on your car insurance, it might not cost you anything.
Car batteries last around three to five years on average so if yours is edging towards this (or exceeds this), it could be well worth having it checked by a garage.
Signs that your battery could be struggling include problems starting your car or false starts where it fails to keep its charge. You might also notice your interior car lights are dimmer than they used to be.
Fewer daylight hours inevitably mean you need to use your headlights more often so double check they’re in good working order. Don’t forget indicators and fog lights as well as main headlights, brakes, and reversing lights. Be sure to keep front and rear light casings clean and mud free too.
Stay safe and warm on winter roads
Car breakdowns still happen, no matter how well you maintain your car. With that in mind, it’s sensible to be prepared and keep an emergency kit in your car, just in case.
Items you should consider packing, include:
● Warning triangle
● Hi-vis vest or jacket
● De-icer or ice scraper
● First aid kit
● Torch and spare batteries
● Jump leads
● Phone charger or battery pack
● Snacks and water
Should I buy car breakdown cover?
When you buy car insurance, breakdown cover is usually offered as an optional extra. As it’s an optional feature, you’re under no obligation to buy it and it’s not something you must have by law. That said, breakdown cover can give you peace of mind and it often represents good value for money.
Packages offered typically include:
● Roadside assistance – if your car breaks down your provider will arrange for help to come to you. If it can’t be fixed there and then, your car will be taken to the nearest garage.
● National recovery – if your car can’t be fixed at the roadside, these policies will arrange to have your car towed to a garage of your choice (for instance, one close to home or to your destination).
● Onward travel – if your car can’t be repaired straightaway, your provider will arrange transport so you can continue your journey. Often this means organising a courtesy car for you but if that’s not possible, they’ll usually refund your taxi or public transport costs. Some policies will also arrange overnight accommodation if needed.
To get an idea of cost, you can compare car insurance with or without breakdown cover at sites like mustard.co.uk. You can start a quote online right now or speak to an expert on 0330 022 8825.
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