Getting Your Car Ready For Winter Post COVID Lay Up.24 September 2020
Every year there seem to be posts and blog articles appearing on how to get your car ready for winter motoring. All of these posts supply very good information, but this year it is more important than ever to make sure that your car is ready for the months ahead.
Over the past seven months, we've all used our vehicles a lot less and some will still be covered by a six-month MOT extension; so, before the weather turns completely wintry it’s time to give the car a quick once over and if possible get your MOT done if you still in an extension period.
Check the coolant level, this is one of the fluids in the car which can just drain away whilst the vehicle is parked up stationary if there is a leak in the system.
It's also worth making sure it’s at an adequate concentration, to prevent freezing at lower temperatures. A frozen coolant system can cause significant damage, as as can running the vehicle low on coolant. Do not just top up with water from the tap.
Always top up coolant with the same colour already in the system, if you're unsure, seek expert advice.
Another fluid which needs to be the correct concentration to prevent freezing, and pretty simple to work out; normally a 50:50 mix will suffice.
It is worth checking the spray pattern of the washer jet nozzles to make sure they're clean, you can do this by clearing the aim with a pin.
Pro tip: a tiny movement on the nozzle goes a long way, move it too far and be ready to duck!
Check their condition, look for splits or hardness to the rubber. You can also give them a quick clean with car shampoo or screen wash.
If your wipers are old or due to for replacement, look at the possibility of an upgrade to more efficient Areostyle ones.
It’s a simple one really, but make sure all your lights are working, including fog lights (front and rear), as the nights draw in we'll soon be spending more time in the dark, so whilst there are some daylight hours left at the end of the day, get them checked.
Pro tip: Back up to a garage door or large window to check the functionality of brake lights and reverse lights if you're not able to find a willing victim to help you.
It is always good to check the oil level, especially after a long period of the car being laid up or even before a long journey. But checking the oil shouldn't be limited to those two instances, weekly checks can spot a potential leak and save major engine damaged, and it only takes a couple of seconds.
Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressures, anything different could affect braking distances, and steering feel.
If your cars been laid up for a while, you may have developed slight flat spots in the tyre, which will feel like a vibration. If you take the car on a drive, the heat from friction and rotation should remove the flat spots, if the vibration doesn't disappear or you're concerned to speak to garage or tyre shop for further advice.
Also, check the sidewalls for signs of cracking and your tread depth.
This is a strange one: as fuel ages, it loses its potency and becomes less willing to ignite. The fuel that has been left in the tank for seven months will be fine, but it might be worth adding a few litres of fresh stuff to mix it up a little bit.
Wash and Hoover
Now’s the time to give the car a good wash and hoover and, if you're inclined, a quick polish and wax too. Not only will this make the car look new again, but it will also help to protect it over the winter months.
We've put together this handy infographic which can be used to remember what to check before a long journey, or your weekly or monthly check whilst washing the car.