Road Safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is offering simple tips for drivers to ensure trouble-free journeys this winter. Giving some attention now to batteries, tyres, antifreeze, wipers, lights and other vehicle essentials is the best way of ensuring reliability in the months to come, says GEM.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth comments: “ The current cold snap is likely to have caught many drivers by surprise, and the last thing anyone needs is to break down on a chilly morning. Prevention is always better than cure, so by paying some attention to basic winter maintenance needs, you have the best chance of ensuring you don’t get stranded out in the cold.”
Here are GEM’s five simple steps for reducing the chance of a breakdown or malfunction this winter:
- Make sure all the lights on your car, inside and out, are working properly. Clean them regularly to ensure they are free of dirt, so that you can see, and others can see you.
- Check tyre tread depth and pressure weekly through the winter. Good tyres will ensure the safety systems on your car are as effective as possible. GEM recommends a minimum tread depth of 3mm (the legal minimum is 1.6mm), as this will disperse much more water from the road and will minimise your risk of skidding and losing control.
- Get the battery and charging system checked to ensure best performance. A large number of winter calls to GEM’s breakdown control centre relate to flat batteries. Cold weather puts a lot of strain on tired batteries, so consider changing it now to avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown.
- Ensure your car’s cooling system has the correct levels of anti-freeze, which is vital to prevent the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing. GEM recommends you consult your local dealer or a qualified mechanic to ensure this is done correctly.
- Do you need new windscreen wipers at front and rear? Check for efficient working and use cold weather washer fluid. Do not use the windscreen wipers to clear ice, as this will very quickly lead to damage.