Winter is here and while your car might be frozen, your finances don’t need to be. This time of year is one of the worst for unexpected financial complications. From broken boilers to expensive Christmas lists, around every corner is something else that needs to be paid for and it can be extremely draining, both emotionally and financially. The last thing you need is for your car to break down right in the middle of winter. Here are our tips for looking after your car this winter so you can avoid any unnecessary breakdown or service costs.
1 – Check the fuel tank
Even if you’ve had your car for ages and feel like you know exactly the moment when it will run out of fuel, remember that in cold weather it will use more fuel, so you are likely to run out more quickly than usual. We all get so used to relying on our cars that we never think something so simple could happen to us, but running out of fuel happens surprisingly often and you don’t want it to happen to you, leaving you stranded in the freezing cold.
2 – Book it in for a service
Taking your car in for a service before the really bad weather hits is a good idea to ensure you have a healthy motor and to catch any problems before they become an issue and leave you stranded in the snow. Getting your car serviced regularly has been shown to save money by preventing expensive emergency repairs. You can also use the opportunity to get any winter car care advice from the professionals.
3 – Check your lights
Due to the wet and muddy conditions during the winter, lights can get surprisingly dirty, leading to reduced visibility. Keep them clean and check they are all working regularly to ensure optimum visibility at all times. This will protect you and those around you and is essential for those foggy days when visibility becomes a serious problem.
4 – Get your battery tested
We are all familiar with the sound of a reluctant battery turning over while we freeze before our morning commute. Battery related faults are particularly common during winter, so if your battery is over four years old or if you have experienced any problems with it, get it tested. Check it regularly and remember to keep the terminals clean.
5 – Check your breakdown cover
If you haven’t used it in a while, chances are you might not be sure of the details of your breakdown cover. It is a good idea to have the details to hand in the car, as there is a higher likelihood of breakdowns during the winter months. If you have all the details stored in your phone, you might want to keep a paper copy in the glove box, just in case your phone battery dies.
6 – Check your tyres
During cold weather the tyre pressure will reduce so regular check-ups are needed. This is particularly necessary if the temperature is fluctuating a great deal. It will also help with grip on icy roads as under inflated tyres can be a hazard on ice.
7 – Keep it clean
Keeping your car sparkling when the weather is miserable might not be your top priority, but clearing out any debris and rotting leaves from around the wipers and under the bonnet will reduce the possibility of damage should they freeze, and help to keep the air conditioning in working order. In addition to this, the salt used on icy pavements can be particularly damaging to the paintwork, so rinsing it off regularly will protect your car from any corrosion, particularly on alloy wheels.
8 – Warm it up
When you first start your car, give it a chance to warm up before driving it. This will also give the radiators a chance to warm up the inside a little, making it much more comfortable for you to drive in. Once you do start driving, do not rev the engine. Drive gently so that the entire engine can warm up before you demand too much from it.
9 – Pack an emergency box
It is always better to be prepared and this is especially the case during the winter. If your car breaks down and you end up stranded somewhere, an emergency box in your boot could prove to be a lifesaver. Pack a blanket, plenty of water, food, a torch and a first aid kit. You can also buy emergency car kits specifically for winter that include everything you will need, such as thermal blankets, ice-scrapers and food rations. If you are going on a long journey you might want to take a hot flask of something to drink as well as spare clothing. You could also pack some gadgets to make driving in winter a little more comfortable and pleasurable.
10 – The financial back-up plan
If the worst happens and your car does break down, those mechanic costs can add up quickly and it is typical that it would happen at a time when you really rely on your car and money is extremely tight. A logbook loan can be an ideal solution for this kind of situation, allowing you to take out a loan secured against your car, of £500–£100,000, for 12 months–5 years. With Pay As You Go interest rates and no hidden fees, a logbook loan from CarCashPoint could be the perfect solution.