RAC Cars News


Guide To Winter In Your Car

By raccars Published

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The clocks have gone back, the evenings are darker and mornings are distinctly fresh. Along with turning on the central heating and digging out the winter jumpers, have you prepared your car for the cold days ahead?


Now more than at any other time of the year, it's important to make sure you have enough tread left on and the correct air pressure in your tyres. Dirty, wet roads will give way to slippery, icy roads and your tyres will need to be in tip top condition to keep you safe. If you live in a remote area that suffers from heavy snowfall, you might want to think about getting a set of winter tyres - their deep tread accompanies a special rubber that's resistant to degradation from icy temperatures.

Oil change

Motor oil thickens in colder temperatures and is less efficient as a lubricator. To protect your engine, change your oil for one with a lower viscosity - look for the number preceding the 'W' on the bottle: 5W has a lower viscosity, for example, than 10W. Your vehicle's manufacturer's handbook should contain more information.

Wax finish

Wetter winter air teams up with salty road grit to make a corrosive assailant on your car's paintwork. Allowing the paint to corrode too much exposes the aluminium underneath, which can also be damaged. Treat your car to a regular waxing over the winter months to repel the corrosive mixture.

Windscreen wipers and fluid

Old or poor quality wiper blades may not be up to the winter snow and ice. Consider fitting a set of winter wiper blades to improve your visibility when the weather is bad. Make sure you also use a windscreen washing fluid that is compatible with low temperatures, as otherwise, the washer fluid could freeze solid in its reservoir.

Belt and braces

Rubber components such as belts and hoses can become brittle at low temperatures. Have yours checked and change any showing signs of damage.


Coolant liquid prevents overheating to the engine system. Water alone used as coolant is susceptible to freezing once the mercury drops, so make sure you avoid this and the attendant engine damage by using a coolant mixture that is one part water to one part anti-freeze.

Keep the tank topped up

Try not to let your fuel level drop below half a tank as low temperatures can allow moisture to accumulate in your fuel tank, causing corrosion or further damage, should the moisture freeze. A half full tank contains enough gas to absorb condensation.

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