Hello and welcome to the second post in our ‘winter driving’ series.
We’ve assembled this fine collection of top tips to help you keep your car moving in wintry conditions.
Don't forget the anti-freeze
Why? Well, it prevents the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. If the water did freeze, you’d be left with a very nasty bill for a new radiator (and maybe a new engine!). Oh and you might feel a bit of a lemon in front of the recovery driver.
Thankfully, there’s no need for it to come to that. Get down to your local garage and pick up a bottle of this magical liquid. You can even find it on the shelves of supermarkets these days...there’s progress for you!
Before you get too excited, remember this: you must buy the right formula anti-freeze for your vehicle. If you’re not sure about this, then consult your vehicle handbook. You could also consider grabbing some ready-mixed, but check that it’s made up with the correct ratio of water and anti-freeze before it goes anywhere near your radiator.
You’ll find the ‘coolant reservoir’ under the bonnet – but, again, check your handbook for the exact location. Once you have a bottle of correctly mixed anti-freeze, your ready to top up the reservoir. Warning: only remove the coolant reservoir cap when the engine is cold, and then top it up to (and no higher than) the ‘maximum’ level marking.
1) If your vehicle has power steering, make sure you don’t pour the anti-freeze into the power-steering fluid reservoir! Check your coolant as part of your regular checks.
2) If you notice that the level in the reservoir has dropped suddenly, speak to someone at your garage.
Tyres in winter
Tyres are incredibly important and very technical too. Broadly speaking you can have summer tyres, winter tyres and intermediate tyres. The compound the tyre is made from and the tread pattern affect how well they do their job of gripping the road in various weather conditions. It also affects how long they last and how much noise they make as they roll over the tarmac. If you’re going to be doing a lot of driving in snowy and icy conditions, winter tyres may be a good investment. Talk to a tyre specialist who will be able to advise you.
Whatever tyres you have fitted you need to check that the tread depth is legal. If you don’t know how to check tyre tread, don’t panic, it’s really quite simple. The first and most important thing you’ll need is a tyre tread depth gauge. These handy gadgets are cheap and readily available from the autoparts dealer of your choice.
Once you have one, use it to make regular checks right the way around the circumference of the tyre. Although the legal limit is 1.6 mm, in snowy and icy conditions it makes sense to consider changing your tyres when the depth gets down to between 2.5 and 3 mm.
For more information...
If you’re after more tips on winter driving (and many other important topics!), then The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills is the answer. It’s packed full of great advice which makes it the perfect companion for drivers of all ages.