Life Car Talk

Friday 22 August 2014

Why you should be doing winter motoring checks now

Everyone likes a good list so here's a good one

Bob Flavin

Published 10/07/2014 | 08:30

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When you need to add engine oil, don't over do it.
When you need to add engine oil, don't over do it.

We all hear it coming into winter, those ads that tell us there’s a free winter check at your local dealer but you should be doing those winter checks right now.Just like winter clothes there’s sales on right now so if you want anti-freeze this is the time to buy it.

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Top Things to check for winter:

 

1.Tyre condition and pressures

These are checks that should be carried out once a month anyway so why wait until a service? Just check them yourself, run your hand over the tyre and visually inspect the thread depth. If you can’t manage this go into the local tyre shop or dealer and ask for the check because there’s usually no charge for the check and it might save your life.

Top Tip: Always keep tyres in top condition; they are the only thing that keeps us on the road. Also check the spare tyre is inflated.

 

2.Anti-freeze/coolant

This one in the same thing these days and most modern cars don’t have any water in the system it all comes from a pre-mixed formula. It does need to be topped up and over a number of years it can need to be drained out and changed. Most main dealers have a bottle of coolant on the shelf but you can always get it at the local Motor Factor just make sure it meets the specification in the drivers manual.

Top Tip: There’s a small device you can buy in a Motor Factors that allows you to check if coolant is working properly, it looks like a Turkey baster but it’s easy to use and checks the specific weight.

 

3.Oil

When was the last time you checked the oil level in the car? If the answer is ‘I haven’t’ then the tie has come to get under the bonnet and have a look. Find the dipstick and pull it out, look where the oil is on the stick, wipe it clean and dip it again. It’s often best to do this when the car is cold because the oil level is originally set with the car when it’s cold. If you are low on oil make sure you buy the right stuff for your model of car.

Top Tip: it’s much better to have slightly less than full than overfilling the oil system, putting too much oil in the system can cause a lot of damage. If in doubt go to a main dealer and have them check it.

 

4.Battery

How old is the battery in your engine bay? If it’s five years old it could be on the way out, just because your car starts when it’s 20 degrees out doesn’t mean it’ll start when the first frost hits. Batteries don’t like cold days and if your car sounds like it’s struggling to turn over then it’s probably a battery problem.

Changing the battery is easy, a spanner is usually all that’s required but if your car has a special code for the radio you’ll have to get it done at the main dealers then you should be happy for another five years.

Top Tip: Batteries are dangerous to handle, always take the proper precautions, contact a dealer.

 

That’s the main checks for winter, there are plenty of sales on at the moment so you should check out the deals that are on. Remember if you are doubt about doing anything with your car talk to the Service Manager at your main dealer as they are always happy to help.

Follow the Indo Motoring team on Twitter @indomotoring

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