Car maintenance for winter months

Car maintenance for the winter months

You’ve passed your test and you’ve bought a car and now ‘Winter is coming’ to steal a GOT quote…so you don’t turn in to a ‘White walker’ (see what I did there) you now need to put more thought in to looking after the car i.e. car maintenance. So what are the things we need to be checking before winter arrives (and throughout) to ensure the car makes it through to spring.

Get a service

 If the car is due a service, get it done now. The cold weather can worsen any minor car issues and by having the car serviced this should identify any faults and so you can get them sorted in time. Also search the web for big firms offering discounted Winter car checks.

Check your tyres



I’m sure you already do this, but double check, I recently heard of a clever little trick using a 20p coin to measure the tread depth click here for a tread depth check tutorial Tyre maintenance is vital, the tyres are key to both steering and braking.

During the warmer months an acceptable tread depth would be 1.6mm but in the Winter when the roads are more inclined to be icy it is recommended you let them get no lower that 3mm. You might even want to consider Winter Tyres .

Also, make sure to check the tyre pressure, for a tutorial on checking tyre pressure Click here .

Check the battery

Checking the battery should be a priority. During the colder month’s the battery is under extra pressure, the cold temperatures reduce the power output and as well as that you will be putting more pressure on by using the heaters and lights more. The average life expectancy for a car battery is around 5 years (if you have bought a 2nd hand car, it is worth checking with the seller when the car last had a new battery).

If your car is struggling to start, it could be the battery, get it checked. If you can’t start the car Click here on how to jump start the car.

Top up Engine Coolant

Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and aniti-freeze and you may need to top up the anti freeze throughout the winter as it can become diluted. A common mistake people make is to top it up with water which will further dilute and could cause the engine to over heat and be quite costly to repair.

Clean your lights


Check that all the light casings are clean (a good tip I have heard recently is toothpaste, apparently it brings them up a treat). Besides cleaning, check all the bulbs are in full working order.

Windscreen and wipers

Give the windscreen a good clean inside and out, making sure it’s not streaky on the inside, here are some helpful hints and tips on car washing Click here for a cleaner car. To check the wipers, just run your finger along the blade to check for any nicks or tears.

Thoroughly check your windscreen for any chips and cracks, if you do have a chip/crack, no matter how small, get it fixed. Most insurance companies have windscreen cover.

When taking longer journeys


It’s important before you set off to check the weather forecast, if you are traveling a distance check the destination forecast too, is it may be different. Allow more time to get there as it is likely you will be traveling at slower speeds due to adverse road conditions. Make sure your windows are clear of snow and ice using a scraper and de icer and for long and short journeys ensure inside all windows are thoroughly de-misted.

Winter breakdown kit

If the worst should happen make sure you are a good Cub Scout/Brownie Guide by being prepared. A basic kit will include:-

  • Shovel
  • Torch
  • Blanket
  • Hi –vis vest
  • Screen wash
  • Food and drink supplies
  • Scraper and de icer
  • Fully charged mobile phone

Other important stuff

  • Be sensible, slow down, stay alert and stay in control and drive according to the road and weather conditions.
  • Always have at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case of an unexpected delay
  • If you know your way around a car, check the brake pads and discs and brake fluid (if not, get it checked by someone who knows how)


Happy (safe) driving