How time flies when your car has been running well throughout the summer months. Now the weather has turned cold and you’ve done nothing to it since spring, beyond changing the oil and replacing a tyre.
Contrary to popular thinking, vehicles do require seasonal attention to be kept safe and dependable. More to the point, their owners may need a seasonal reminder to pay attention to their vehicles needs.
During winter a vehicle’s cooling system takes on a slightly different role and in colder areas the system’s antifreeze stops the coolant from freezing if you’re parking your vehicle overnight.However, if you have been filling your cooling system with water, you may have altered the ratio of water and anti-freeze, making it less effective in doing its job.
To avoid any hassles, you should have your car car serviced or checked by an expert. We recommend NRMA MotorServe, which is currently offering a comprehensive winter health check for $39 (was $120), which includes wiper blades. However, there are still plenty of other maintenance items you can tick off yourself.
- Check your tyre pressures including the spare. If the load is greater than normal, inflate accordingly using the manufacturer’s recommendation on the tyre placard.
- Check the tyres’ tread depth while you’re at it, and if they are close to the wear limiters, consider replacing.
- If your windscreen wipers left fine lines on the glass last time you used them, now’s the time to replace the rubber blades and add some windscreen cleaner to the washer bottle. Windscreen wiper blades can deteriorate even on a new car that has been sitting in storage. The rubber in the blades is vulnerable to the elements as well as road contaminants. That’s why blades should be changed periodically, ideally twice a year, as a preventative measure
- Give the windscreen a good clean inside. If you’re travelling to alpine regions pack a plastic scraper in your kit to remove ice from the windscreen and door glass. Never use hot water on the glass, and remember, a small stone chip can grow into a large crack as the temperature lowers.
- Check that all the lights are operating – especially high beam.
- Cold temperatures put additional strain on your car battery. If you’re driving an older car and the starter sounds sluggish on start-up on colder mornings, check the age and condition of the battery. Most batteries are maintenance-free these days, but if your battery has caps check the level and top up as necessary. Battery testing, as well as delivery and installation by a qualified technician, is free for NRMA Members.
Has your car ever got caught in cold conditions? Any advice to share?