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Safer Driving with Hilltop Garage

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  • Published: 17th November 2014
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Read Hilltop Garage's 8 Top Tips that will keep you safer this winter.

8 simple steps to prepare your car for winter

As the weather grows increasingly worse a few moments spent on some simple maintenance and
preparation could help you and your car through the worst the winter weather has to offer. As
temperatures plummet the number of breakdowns we handle at Hilltop Garage Horndean can
more than double. Based on our experiences with the problems our customers have experienced
here are our top tips to help you survive the approaching winter.

1. Get your car serviced

If your car is due for a service soon get it done before the winter bites. We often find simple to
rectify faults during a routine service, and had they gone unnoticed could have caused a problem
or a breakdown that would have cost a lot more time, inconvenience and money to repair. If your
car is not due for a service many garages offer free winter checks, why not take advantage of this?

2. Check the battery

The number one cause of problems is the battery failing, with the extra cold weather and increased
electrical load of heater, blower, heated screens and lights etc putting an enormous strain on it. On
average a battery will last about five years, any older and this and it may be wise to replace it
before it fails.

3. Engine coolant

The coolant mixture in the radiator should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Make sure you
have some coolant ready mixed to top up the cooling system, too little antifreeze and the coolant
could freeze and cause serious problems, a breakdown and a large repair bill.

4. Tyres

Check the condition of your tyres, they are essential to both your steering and braking efficiency
and must be kept in good condition. Check both the pressures and the tread depths, we
recommend a minimum of 3mm depth during the winter compared to 1.6mm, the legal minimum,
because it gives better grip and performance on wet and snowy roads.

5. Lights

Keep all your lights, indicators and reflectors clean. Check to make sure there are no cracks in the
lenses and all the bulbs work too.

6. Wash your windscreen

Keep your windscreen clean inside and out and ensure the screen wash reservoir is kept topped
up with a screen wash that contains an antifreeze. Please don’t put coolant antifreeze in the
reservoir, it will smear and won’t clean the screen and it also can seriously damage your paintwork.

7. Prepare for long journeys

Before setting off check the weather forecast, travel news and work out the safest route. Allow
extra time to avoid rushing. Make sure all your windows are clear and clean. Keep at least a
quarter tank of fuel in the car in case of unexpected delays, or you may not be able to make it to
the nearest petrol station if not. Check your engine oil and coolant levels and top them up if

8. Carry a winter survival kit

You never know what the weather can throw at you. Carry a shovel to clear away deep snow and
mud, a torch, have a warm blanket in the car, a hi-visibility vest, some food and drink, an ice
scraper and de-icer. And remember to take your mobile phone, an in car phone charger can be
useful too.

What if I am not confident to make these checks?

Any good garage will be able to help, many will carry out a free winter check for you, highlighting
what work if any needs to be carried out. It is better to be prepared, from our customers
perspective we know just how inconvenient and stressful it can be when the car won’t start or it
breaks down, causing lost time and money and a repair bill too.

At Hilltop Garage Horndean we offer a free winter check. To make an enquiry or a booking simply
call us on 02392 596038 or pop in to see us at 299 London Road, Horndean, Waterlooville, Hants,
PO8 0JE.

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Winter Top Tips

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