Tuesday January 5, 2016
Now is the time to prepare your classic car for winter driving. Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important all year round, but much more so in winter. As the weather begins to freeze and the prospect of snow and icy conditions increase, it is essential to have your car prepared for the worst.
Worn tyres won't hold the road in wet conditions as well as those with deep tread. Check the battery, the oil, and coolant and washer fluid levels. And don't leave home without enough fuel for the journey.
The following checks will help ensure your vehicle is ready for winter:
- Battery: the most common cause of winter breakdowns. If your car has not been used for a period of time the battery may need charging before you use it. A battery more than five years old may fail in the cold - have it checked and replaced if needed to avoid being let-down.
- Tyres: should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check pressures at least every fortnight. Consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater control and traction in ice and snow.
- Fuel: keep a quarter of a tank at least in case of unexpected delays.
- Wiper blades: check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.
- Screen-wash: make sure you have topped up your screen-wash and the concentration is suitable for cold conditions, so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to -10 degrees centigrade. If you don't use a good quality screen-wash there is a danger your washer pump could freeze which might lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are sometimes on the same fuse.
- Antifreeze: ensure that coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It is also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If uncertain have a look at your handbook or ask a local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap but damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive.
- Door locks and seals: to prevent doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.
- Lights: check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly and carry spare bulbs.
Don’t forget to keep a cold weather emergency kit to hand!
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Battery jump leads
- Reflective jacket
- Bits of carpet or cardboard to place under driven wheels to assist traction on ice or snow
- Salt or sand to help melt snow and ice
- Tow rope
- Snow socks or chains (for remote areas)
- Bottled water and snacks
- Extra screen wash