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With Christmas almost here, the roads are set to be busy yet again today following Friday being named the busiest day of the year to travel. Heavy traffic on the UK’s roads and motorways combined with the current climate is a recipe for disaster which is why it pays to be prepared if you’re about to embark on a long journey this winter.
Our previous article entitled ‘Driving in snow and ice’ explains how to cope once you are in your vehicle and faced with these dangerous conditions, but there is lots of preparation you can also do to help make your journey as comfortable, safe and stress free as possible.
Take a look below at some tips from Trusted Dealers on how to prepare for winter driving and avoid a breakdown:
Be mindful of your battery and electrics
Using your heater, lights and windscreen wipers frequently in the winter will put pressure on your car battery, particularly if most of your driving occurs during rush hour, so eventually your battery will give out – they rarely last more than 5 years. Make a note of when your battery was last changed and when it come up to the five year marker, it’s well worth replacing the battery with a new one to save a lot of time and inconvenience.
Save power on the move
There are many ways you can preserve your battery for longer such as avoiding running electrical systems for too long. Turn your car heater or your fan down and switch off any heated windows once they are clear.
Power up your battery regularly
If your car stands still for long periods of time such as at the weekend, it’s well worth giving the engine a short burst of power every evening to give the battery a chance to revive itself. Turn off any electricals first before starting the engine. If the engine struggles to start, use the starter in short five-second bursts and leave 30 seconds between attempts to allow the battery to revive itself.
Equipment could be frozen
In very cold weather, certain elements under your bonnet may freeze over, for example, a squealing noise when the engine starts could mean your water pump is frozen or the cylinder block could be frozen. If this happens, stop your car immediately and allow the parts to thaw out, however, this could take up to several days unless the car can be moved indoors to a heated garage. If the car starts to overheat, it is likely the radiator is frozen, again your must stop straight away and allow for it to thaw.
Use antifreeze regularly
Antifreeze is a cheap product to obtain but it’s important you buy the right type for your vehicle. Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze but you can check your car handbook or ask your nearest Trusted Dealer for more advice. Please note that some types of antifreeze may need to be changed after just 2 years. Put a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water into the cooling system for the winter to provide maximum protection down to -34 degrees.