The NRMA is urging motorists to be patient with today’s biting cold temperatures causing delays of up to three hours for roadside assistance.
The NRMA is receiving up to 800 calls an hour – 200 more than usual – with battery failure in the cold weather the main culprit.
Delays of up to three hours are currently being experienced in Sydney, Canberra and the Central Coast.
The NRMA has put on extra patrols and call centre staff to meet the increased demand. However the organisation is urging its Members to be patient and stay warm and safe while waiting for assistance.
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 your car 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. If you are planning a weekend away to the mountains you should plan to have your car serviced or checked to avoid any hassles. It’s best left to the experts to check, but before you head off 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 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?