Winter is a tough time of year for automobiles of every kind. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles will grind away at engines, snowfall will make roads treacherous, and batteries will need more current to get started.
Preparing for the season properly means performing a few quick tasks. In the long run, investing this time will be more than worthwhile.
Inflate and Inspect your Tyres
Let’s start with an operation with which every motorist should be familiar. Check the tread depth on your tyres. If they’re approaching the legal limit of 1.6mm, then it’s time to get a replacement before the cold weather reduces your grip on the road.
Your engine’s coolant may need tweaking slightly to perform optimally in cold conditions. Top up with a little bit of extra coolant. Check the condition of the tank; if it leaks, it could spell trouble for neighbourhood cats.
During winter, a different kind of oil might be worthwhile. When it gets colder, oil tends to become more viscous. Look at what your owner’s manual recommends during winter. This is something Kia dealers in Northern Ireland may be able to take care of for you – if that’s where you’ve bought the car from.
Check the Battery
Your battery may begin to struggle during cold weather, because your engine will demand more current from it. If you find that your headlights get slightly brighter when the engine is on than when it isn’t, you can be fairly sure that you’re living on borrowed time. Get a replacement before you end up stranded.
Change your Wipers & Fluid
Your screen wash should be able to cope with sub-zero temperatures. If it can’t, then it’ll be unusable during icy weather. You can fix this by adding a little more of the concentrated screen wash. Check the wipers as well; if they’re looking frayed and ineffective, it’s time to replace them.
You don’t want to risk running out of fuel during winter. But there’s a more technical reason to prefer a full tank at this time of year: a nearly-empty one will allow condensation to form near to your fuel lines, potentially freezing and causing a blockage.
Stock up on De-Icer
When your windscreen is frozen every morning, you’ll want to be able to clear it. If you have a heated windscreen, you can simply sit back and wait for it to work its magic. Don’t use boiling water – that risks damaging your windscreen by exacerbating cracks.