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Protect your car from the perils of winter with these 6 key tips

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With winter in full swing, the weather is becoming more unpredictable, which means that driving can become more challenging, or even dangerous.

In fact, the highest percentage of severe car accidents happen between November and January, with drivers 20% more likely to be in an accident over the winter months. And that’s if you even make it off the driveway, as your car is 18% less likely to start during the winter months.

However, winter driving doesn’t always have to be hazardous if you make sure you are prepared. Car finance experts Zuto have compiled 6 of the best tips and tricks to help to prepare your car for the worst of weather this winter.

1. Check your tyres:

When working well, tyres help to prevent skidding and enable you to stop in an accident. As winter approaches, with both handling and stopping becoming more difficult, it is important to make sure your tyres are in good condition.

Although tyres only need a tread depth of 1.6mm, a 3mm depth is safer in winter. A quick and easy way to check this would be to use a 20p coin. When inserting it into the groove of your tyre, if you see the rim of the coin, you’ll need to get your tyres checked out at your local garage. Make sure to check this around the entire width of the tyre and at several points around the circumference.

It may also be worth investing in winter tyres if you live in an area particularly prone to ice or snow.

2. Refill your fluid:

As temperatures drop, both coolant and washer fluid can freeze, so you’ll need to keep them topped up with anti-freeze. Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and you should make sure your winter washer fluid also contains antifreeze.

3. Check your battery:

Winter can be hard on your battery as a drop in temperature can cause your car battery to fail if it’s at the end of its shelf life. This is because the cold weather reduces the output of a battery, so it has to work harder to keep running.

If your battery has been reluctant to start in the summer and autumn months, it’s best to get it checked out by your local garage before it completely refuses to start on a cold morning when you’re running late for work.

4. Check your windscreen:

Windscreen chips often get worse in the winter months thanks to hail and ice. If your screen has any chips, it’s best to get them fixed or the windscreen replaced before they impair visibility. This is especially important with the upcoming frosty weather.

5. Get a winter service:

Although nothing can guarantee that your car won’t break down in the winter, getting a winter service and maintenance check can help to prevent problems associated with the cold weather. This often includes a lights assessment, an oil level replenishment, and windscreen wiper check to make sure that your car is ready for the winter weather. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

6. Pack your winter car kit

Having a winter survival kit can make all the difference if you happen to breakdown in the cold and dark months and you can never be too prepared. This should include key items such as jumper cables, mobile and battery pack, and a torch with fully charged batteries. As well as a blanket, a first aid kit and a supply of food with a bottle of water or flask.

More tips and advice on driving in winter can be found in Zuto’s blog.