6. Give your tyres a once-over
The condition and quality of your tyres will make a dramatic difference to how your car performs on wintery roads. If the tread is low, the sidewalls are damaged, you’ve a slow puncture or they’re a budget brand, you may find your car much harder to control.
Check them over carefully and replace them if the tread is low or if there’s any sign of damage. You should also seriously consider switching to winter tyres.
7. Maintain your visibility
One of the biggest dangers in winter is a lack of visibility. Replace any wiper blades that are in poor condition with high-quality items, top up your washer fluid with winter-mixture screenwash and carry clean cloths to wipe down your glass and side mirrors.
It’s advisable to carry additional screenwash in the car. Running out can quickly lead to your windscreen becoming obscured by salt and grime. You may also want to get any windscreen chips or cracks looked at, as the cold could lead to them becoming much more severe.
8. Lubricate seals, locks and hinges
The cold temperatures can cause doors to stick to weather seals, in turn making the doors hard to open or even damaging the seals themselves. Don’t use Vaseline to lubricate the seals because it will degrade the rubber. Use a quality rubber care stick like Gummi Pflege instead.
It’s worth taking a minute to go around the car with a can of silicone lubricant as well, and spraying it in to hinges, locks and linkages. It’ll stop things sticking when the temperature falls. Don’t use WD-40, though, because it’s not a suitable substitute for proper lubrication.
9. Pack a survival kit
After you’re done prepping your car for winter, take time to prepare in case the worst happens. Pack a bag with spare bulbs, jump leads, a torch, a decent tow strap, a high-visibility vest, warm clothes, a charger for your phone, some chocolate and some bottled water. Even if you only get stuck in a jam, they could come in handy.
If your area experiences frequent or occasionally severe snowfall, consider carrying some wooden planks, a shovel and some old carpet. All of this can be used to help get a stuck car moving.
It may be beneficial, if you have them, to pack a small selection of tools and spares – such as a bottle of coolant, oil and an ancillary belt.
8. Consider winter tyres
The UK has one of the slowest uptakes for winter or all-weather tyres in Europe. As soon as temperatures drop below 7deg Celsius, winter tyres are proven to reduce stopping distances and make your car easier to control, even in dry conditions. Scroll up to read our comprehensive guide to winter tyres.
9. Opt for snow chains, socks or mats
If you live in an area with regular amounts of high snowfall, then a set of chains could ensure you don’t get stuck. A decent set can be had from upwards of £50 online and, with practice, they can be fitted in minutes.
Snow socks serve a similar purpose and can give you enough grip and traction to drive safely across snow-covered roads. They’re unpleasant to handle when they’ve been used though, so remember to carry disposable gloves and a bin liner or two to put them in afterwards. As with chains, don’t continue driving on them once you’ve reached clean asphalt.
Those needing something just to get them moving could consider a set of inexpensive snow mats. Alternatively, just carry some offcuts of old carpet in the boot for emergencies.