Car engines ‘should be warmed up before driving in winter’ says expert
Motoring experts at A-Plan Insurance have urged motorists to follow five simple tips to prepare their vehicles for winter.
Colder temperatures and wet weather can cause havoc for cars with motorists more likely to suffer damage.
However, road users may be able to protect their vehicles by following basic storage rules and a series of checks.
Read a dashboard
According to A-Plan insurance, just 52 percent of motorists know how to correctly identify their car warning lights.
This means there are dozens of road users across the UK who are unaware of what the 12 most common symbols mean.
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A-Plan Insurance added: “If any of the red lights appear, that is an immediate warning to take your car to a garage so it can be fixed. If a yellow light appears, it can still be serious but not as urgent so take the vehicle to be checked as soon as possible.
“Preparation is essential in winter as breaking down in the darker months with less visibility can be more dangerous.”
Check tyre tread depth and pressures
Motorists can be slapped with hefty fines for failing to meet legal tread depth standards. The law states each tyre must be at least 1.6mm but they should be changed around the 3mm mark.
A-Plan Insurance warns drivers should check their tread depth by taking a 20p coin and placing it inside their tyre grooves.
If the outer band of the coin is still visible it’s a clear indication that the tyre has to be changed as soon as possible.
Road users can check their tyre pressures by placing the palm of their hand on the rubber. Generally, an under-inflated tyre will feel soft which indicates work is needed.
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Check the battery
According to A-Plan Insurance, battery issues are the number one cause of vehicle breakdowns in cold or wet weather
Cold temperatures slow down the processes within the battery which limits its ability to hold charge.
They added: “Cold weather can also cause condensation to form as the freezing air meets the hot air surrounding the battery and engine. This condensation can then cause corrosion which damages the components.
“If the car sputters when the ignition is started or the red warning light flickers, the battery needs to be changed.”
Don’t keep a car stored all winter
Experts have warned against storing a vehicle away in a garage all winter. Instead, motorists should make sure they regularly start their vehicle and go on a short 15-20 minute drive whenever possible.
A regular trip will keep the battery and engine healthy and ensure that the car’s oil is kept at a workable consistency.
Check the lights and fluid levels
Headlights are vital in the winter with commuters often leaving for work when it is still dark.
A-Plan Insurance claims motorists should ask a friend to stand outside and check the headlights, brake lights and indicators as often as possible.
They added: “While performing these checks, inspecting the fluid levels in your car can also help to reduce the risk of damage. Checking the anti-freeze and oil levels can help to keep the engine running, and these are simple to top up without visiting a garage.”
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