How to get your car ready for winter

Survive winter by following these simple steps

Reuben Van Niekerk
car battery
tyre pressure
clean car

While South Africa might not experience the extreme winters that those in the Northern Hemisphere do, the almost freezing night time temperatures of June and July can have a detrimental effect on your car. By following these simple tips, you can mitigate those risks and ensure your car remains safe and operational despite what Mother Nature throws at it.

Top up your radiator

Ensure that your vehicles cooling system is adequately topped up with the correct cooling fluid. Manufacturers have varying recommendations on the type of coolant that should be used. While this might seem counter intuitive given colder temperatures, these fluids contain chemicals that prevent them from freezing as well as slowing down rust build up in the system. The heater of many cars forms part of the cooling system and its more regular use during the colder months could place excessive strain on this system.

Park your car inside

Although modern cars are tested and designed to work in cold climates, the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your car is to park it in a garage or under cover. Extreme temperatures are especially detrimental to rubber and plastic components. If this is not possible, cover you front and rear windows with a blanket or cardboard to prevent frost build up.

Warm your car up slowly

The largest percentage of engine wear occurs when a car is cold as the oil thickens with the cold. Give your car a few minutes to gently warm up during the colder months, especially if it is parked outside.

Keep your car clean

Keep your car and especially the windscreen clean. This will assist with the glare experienced in the mornings and afternoons due to later sunrise and earlier sunset and will also make removing dew or frost easier.

Check your wipers

Be sure to check that your windscreen wipers are in a good condition and that your windscreen washer is in working condition and that it contains a cleaning solution. This will make clearing the windscreen of frost much easier when necessary.

Have your battery checked

A car’s battery only has a lifespan of two or three years and colder temperatures can accelerate the ageing process, as the starter requires more amps to get things turning. Have the health of your battery checked at a specialist facility before it leaves you out in the cold.

Check your tyres

Ensure that your tyres are in a good condition. This is especially important as lower temperatures equal decreased grip levels and even more so in areas that are prone to ice or winter rain. Remember to check your tyre pressures regularly and inflate them to the manufacturers recommended pressures.

Remember your lights

Remember to switch on your lights when travelling in the early mornings or evenings, this will ensure that you are visible to other motorists and pedestrians.