Ice and slippery conditions mean that your brakes need to be in perfect working order. Listen out for noise or vibrations when using the brakes on your car. After applying the brakes, if it takes longer than usual for the car to come to a halt, get it inspected immediately by a qualified mechanic.
Winters in cold, damp regions such as ours can be harsh on your battery, so periodically examine your battery performance for unusual noises, vibrations, fluid leaks or excessive heat. If your battery is old or is giving you pause for thought, consider investing in a new one to avoid having a flat at the dreariest time of year.
C is for…
During the cold winter months, your car is subjected to rain, snow and ice, plus the effects of de-icers such as sand and road salt. Washing your car regularly is the easiest way to care for its bodywork and under chassis. Don’t forget the tyres – regularly remove stones and leaves that have got stuck in the crevices. Similarly, keeping windshields clean and wipers in top condition is essential to maintain perfect visibility. Check they are free of dirt, grease, and any physical defects such as cracks, and ensure the windshield washer fluid bottle under the bonnet is topped up.
Harsh weather conditions can damage standard car tyres. Check the treads on your tyres – deep treads give you better control of the vehicle on all roads, including motorways, secondary roads and back lanes. Invest in a set of good-quality tyres to assist with good grip on wet, greasy Irish winter roads, giving you a safer driving experience. Make sure they are properly inflated at all times – cold temperatures can cause the tyre pressure to decrease. This leads to faster wear and tear of the tyre, increased fuel consumption and difficulty in handling the car on the road. Car lights and fully working bulbs are essential during the dark evenings as your visibility depends on them, as does the ability of other drivers to see you. Check front and back and ensure they are all in perfect working condition, and keep lenses clean and scratch-free. Even if a single light stops working or shows signs of damage such as flickering or dimming, get it repaired as soon as possible.
Emergency kit checklist
Should the worst happen, and you do find your car won’t start, it’s handy to have an emergency kit of essential items. Hopefully your preparations mean you won’t need to use it, but it will give you peace of mind to be prepared.
- Jump leads
- Spare car jack
- Phone charger
- First aid kit
- Essential medicines
- Dry snacks
- Drinking water