How To Prevent Breaking Down This Winter
Posted on 7th December 2021 at 15:15
The RAC has shared advice on preventing a breakdown using the acronym FORCES for the regular ‘DIY checks’ you should carry out through the winter and especially as we head into another icy blast.
Check you have plenty of fuel in your tank for your journey. It may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many people run out of fuel and with temperatures as low as expected, you really don’t want get stranded because you've run out of fuel.
According to RAC one in three vehicles are dangerously low on oil. This can cause a breakdown or lead to catastrophic engine damage at worst. Regular checks are recommended throughout the year but this is especially important during the winter months.
Always check tyres and wiper blades before you set off. With tyres you're looking for general wear and tear cracks, splits or bulges, and most importantly, tread depth should be a minimum of 1.6mm.
Also ensure that you have the correct pressure in your tyres. You can find the inflation levels in the owner’s handbook.
Are your wiper blades are effective at clearing your screen? Have they become frayed or are they just clogged with dirt?
In colder winters, RAC patrols see a big increase in callouts to members' cars which have blown a fuse or broken the motor/mechanics when they have been switched whilst frozen to the screen.
The last thing you need is a frozen engine or for your car to overheat. Although it’s a sealed system and shouldn’t need to be topped up, you should always double check, especially before a long journey.
Lights are vital for safety for both yourself and others on the road. Walk around your car and make sure all lights are working and that they are free from dirt, grime and snow.
Check the battery terminals under the bonnet are clean and tight. If your battery is over four years old it may be getting to the end of its life and it could let you down.
RAC reports that their patrols deal with over 400,000 battery related faults every winter. Older tired batteries have to work much harder in cold conditions and they endure greater demand from extra electrical equipment like the lights and the heater.
Check your screen wash level and top up with a quality screen wash additive that will be effective down to at least -15 degrees celsius.
There’s more dirt on the roads during the winter, as well as salt, so it’s important to make sure you keep your windscreen clean. Remember to keep checking and topping up the level as you will generally use more at this time of year.
What is your car telling you?
Modern vehicles are highly intuitive and warning lights usually appear in advance of the issues becoming too much of a problem. Therefore, to prevent having to call a tow truck, please get your vehicle checked as soon as possible.
There’s always a chance that your car might leave you stranded over winter, so it’s important to be fully covered and prepared for a breakdown.
Keep provisions in the boot
Keep some warm clothes in the boot of your car, as well as a torch and a few basic tools.
Bottles of water and foods such as energy bars and chocolate will keep long enough to get you through these icy months.
A warm coat, shovel, blankets and a fully charged mobile phone are also advisable.
Please feel free to share these tips with your loved ones.
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