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Prepare your car for winter driving

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Carry out these five car care checks to keep your car running smoothly this winter.

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How to prepare your car for winter weather



Winter can be a tough time for your car - freezing temperatures, heavy rain, ice, high winds and snow can all put your vehicle through its paces. That's why it's especially important to carry out basic maintenance to avoid any unexpected bills throughout the colder months. Follow these simple car maintenance tips to keep your car running smoothly this winter....

What to take with you...

We recommend keeping these winter essentials in your car, in case of a breakdown:

  • Warning triangle
  • Warm clothing
  • Wellington boots
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Ice scraper

Check exterior lights

Darker nights and bad weather can seriously affect your view of the road and your ability to be seen by others, so checking your lights are in good working order should be top of your winter car maintenance checklist. Ensure that your headlamps are positioned correctly, and are free from dirt and salt - use a damp cloth to avoid scratching the lens covers. We recommend dipping your headlamps too, to avoid dazzling other drivers. Fog lights should only be used in extreme weather conditions.


Test your battery

Failing batteries account for a fifth of all breakdowns - there's nothing like that sinking feeling when you turn your key in the ignition, and your car fails to start. Battery problems can happen almost without warning, and the risk of a complete battery failure is significantly higher when the temperature drops.
Batteries have a lifespan of 3 - 4 years depending on your usage and the quality of the battery fitted. Look out for these four signs that your battery is about to die:

  • The engine is slow to start, or doesn't start at all
  • The check battery light is illuminated
  • Low/ no power for electrics inside the vehicle
  • You've already had to jump it a few times

You can check your battery yourself using the right equipment, or pop into your local Autocentre for a Free Battery Check today.


Good News!

Get 10% off all batteries throughout October and November 2017.

Shop Batteries



Check wiper blades and washer fluid

If your wipers squeak or smear, it's time for a new pair. You may risk scratching your windscreen if the rubber is worn away or the metal exposed. Wet, muddy or salty roads will increase the amount of spray hitting your windscreen, so you'll need plenty of washer fluid, too - we recommend washer fluid that includes high protection against freezing.
Our Free Winter Check includes a screen wash top up.


Assess your tyres

Worn tyres are extremely dangerous, no matter the time of year. Your tyres need a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm to comply with UK law, however, in winter, we recommend changing tyres at 3mm to maintain safe stopping distances. Read our tyre wear guide. If you regularly drive on rural or uneven roads, you may want to consider swapping your current tyres for winter or all season tyres. Winter tyres feature a special tread and softer compound to aid grip and traction in temperatures below 7░C. At Halfords Autocentres, we offer a wide range of premium, mid-range and budget winter tyres - find out more about the benefits of winter tyres.

Shop Winter Tyres


Top up antifreeze

As the name suggests, antifreeze stops the water in the engine's cooling system from freezing, so make sure yours is topped up before the cold weather hits. If you're experiencing the following symptoms, you may need to top up:

  • Engine temperature warning light is on
  • Your heater isn't working
  • The car's temperature gauge is higher or lower than normal
  • Poor fuel economy

Coolant should be changed every 2 - 5 years, depending on the car and the type of coolant required. To check your antifreeze, open the bonnet and locate the engine coolant reservoir - the coolant should be between the min/max markers.


Warning:áIf you do need to top up, never undo the coolant filler cap while the engine is hot as you could scald yourself.

Winter Preparation at Halfords Autocentres

At Halfords Autocentres, we offer a Winter Preparation Service that includes all of the above checks, as well as the trickier things that are better left to the experts, such as your starter motor, drive belts and cooling system. This 10-point Service includes an antifreeze change (worth £37), plus a revolutionary Duxback treatment (worth £34.95), too.


Book a Winter Preparation Service

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