AS WINTERY weather hits the country, the AA is encouraging drivers to check their car is in shape so they do not get caught out in the cold snap.
Max Holdstock, AA patrol of the year, said: “The arrival of more typical winter weather will have many of us reaching for the thermostat but it’s not just us who feel the chill.
“The cold can cause problems for your car too, and in more ways than many people realise.
“Breakdowns can double but up to half are potentially preventable through regular servicing and maintenance checks. The most common call to the AA for help is a flat battery.”
He advises keeping an ear out for local traffic and weather reports and driving in severe winter weather only if it’s essential.
“The vital thing is to drive smoothly, keep your speed down and avoid sharp acceleration, braking or cornering as far as possible by keeping plenty of space between you and the car in front,” he said.
“Be alert to black ice particularly on unsalted roads – it’sdifficulttoseeastheroadwillsimplylookwet.
“On an icy road, start in second gear or engage winter mode if an automatic and keep in as high a gear as possible.
“Keep warm clothing in your car, first aid kit, personal medication, high energy refreshment such as chocolate, drinking water, torch, keep your phone charged and take a traditional map as well as your sat-nav and download the AA App.”
The AA also offers winter essentials packs with useful kit such as a shovel, de-icer, salt, emergency beacon, tow-rope and other useful items.
A few more winter tips include:
- Battery: keep it charged up and if its old, get it checked and changed
- Coolant: check and make sure it has correct anti-freeze mix
- Windscreen wash and wiper blades: keep them sparkling clean
- Lights: keep them clean and replace blown bulbs
- Tyres: check tread depth, tyre condition and pressure. Think about winter tyres
- Screen chips and bodywork damage: repair chips on glass and body
Mr Holdstock added: “Winter is a punishing time for your car, so it’s important to make sure it’s up to the job. If your car is due its annual service, get it done sooner rather than later and get into the habit of doing these regular maintenance checks.
“For additional peace of mind, many garages offer free or cheap winter car checks, which are good for flagging up potential problems. Best to get them sorted now than at the side of the road on a cold, dark evening.”