The winter can put extra strain on your vehicle and create some hazardous road conditions.
By checking over your vehicle and packing a few essentials, you can avoid breaking down and be prepared for any situation where you might get stuck.
Here’s our advice on how to ready your vehicle for the colder months.
Carrying out routine checks
1. Regular servicing and maintenance
If you’ve been putting off getting your vehicle serviced, consider booking it in now. The winter can be a challenging time for your vehicle.
Taking your vehicle in for maintenance can also help you with some of the steps below.
Winter can take its toll on a vehicle’s battery, particularly in older vehicles. Extreme temperatures can be a cause for your battery to go flat. Checking your battery or getting it looked at should be a priority.
Tyres need to exceed the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, but we recommend no less than 3mm to be safe and to take advantage of extra grip.
Dark mornings and evenings are a part of driving in winter. To combat the reduced visibility, it’s worth giving your lights a check over to ensure they’re working and that their plastic coverings are clean.
Your lights will also alert other road users of your presence, and so they are essential for the safety of yourself and others.
- Number plate bulbs
- Reverse lights
- Fog lights
5. Engine Coolant
Topping up your engine coolant with antifreeze will help prevent it from freezing over. If your engine coolant freezes it may lead to your engine overheating and an expensive repair bill.
6. Windscreen Washer Reservoir
Stop your windscreen washer reservoir freezing by choosing a non-freezing screen-wash. It can be worth giving your windscreen wipers the once over as well – if they’re streaking, it’s likely that they’re worn and will need replacing.
Keeping your fuel topped up is good preparation for unexpected delays. The winter is not an especially good time to see how long you can go before refuelling!
8. Mobile Phone
Having a fully charged mobile phone is a useful backup should you need to call for help. Similarly, it can be worth having an emergency contact in mind and their number jotted down somewhere.
If you think your phone might run out of battery, there are power banks (portable battery chargers) and torches that can provide emergency wind-up power for recharging.
Winter Breakdown Kit - The Essentials and more
Having an ‘emergency winter kit’ can be a lifeline if you become stranded or stuck. You can put together your own kit or buy one.
You can chuck them in your boot or the back of your van and forget about them – making them quite convenient. Here are some of the essentials to consider:
- Ice scraper
- De-icer spray
- High-vis jacket
- Torch with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable Food & Water (e.g. biscuits, energy bars, raisins)
- Warm Clothes & Blankets (Emergency blankets can work well – the ‘foil kind’)
- Boots or winter footwear
- Jumpstart cables
Preparing for longer journeys
Before setting off, find out if there are any severe weather warnings. You can keep up-to-date with the weather by checking the news.
- BBC Weather is a place to go for reliable weather forecasts.
- You could also use the MET Office. This is where a lot of media outlets get their information, meaning you can go directly to the source.
Depending on the weather conditions, you will then be able to plan appropriately. There’s no shame in postponing your journey to stay safe if the weather calls for it.
How can Northgate help?
Getting your vans with Northgate saves you time and effort spent maintaining your fleet. Our vehicles come as standard with:
- Access to a UK-wide network of conveniently located workshops
- Servicing and maintenance
- Replacement vehicles
- 24/7 breakdown cover
- Mobile repairs and technicians available
When you have a Northgate vehicle, ensuring it is in tip-top shape and ready for whatever winter throws at it could not be easier.
Looking for more motoring advice to get you through winter and the colder months?
Winter can put real strain on your vehicle and lead to some hazardous driving conditions. With the right preparation, you can keep safe and ensure your vehicle remains in good working condition.