How to avoid an unnecessary visit to the car garage this winter

Let’s face it; at this cold and dark time of year, when the roads can be intimidating places due to the adverse wet and snowy conditions, you probably won’t want to be breaking down unexpectedly. The same goes for having to take your vehicle to a garage outside the routine MOT or service when you will surely have so much else to do during the festive season.

So, can you ensure you aren’t forced to take your car to a garage for emergency repair work this winter? We can’t guarantee anything, but the below tips are likely to boost your chances.

Check whether your car is due a service

Regardless of what time of year it is, you should regularly check whether your car is due a service anytime soon. However, if your motor is indeed due an MOT or service, as winter approaches, it should become an even more pressing priority.

Although a car service is typically recommended every 12 months, every vehicle is different and unique, so you should consult your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. You should ideally plan ahead and make sure you’re getting your car serviced before the worst of the winter hits.

The good news is that there are plenty of motor specialists available if you require MOT and car servicing in Thurrock or other parts of Essex – such as our own professionals at Advanced Service Centre.

Ensure your battery is optimal

The most common causes of vehicle breakdowns tend to relate to operating on a faulty or flat battery. And as winter is coming up, it’s worth noting that there is a higher risk of battery failure in cold temperatures and wet or icy conditions.

When starting the engine, if your car turns over more slowly than usual, this is a likely sign of a failing battery. If possible, replace your car’s battery every two to three years. If your battery is flat or faulty for this upcoming winter, it’s definitely a good idea to replace it as soon as possible.

Check the condition of your tyres

Tyres are required by law to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, but experts recommend changing tyres at 3mm to maintain safe stopping distances. Worn tyres are dangerous at any time, but they are especially dangerous in icy, snowy, or wet conditions, which lead to longer stopping distances. 

For the icy conditions the winter brings, consider purchasing some snow chains for your tyres if you plan on driving on rural or uneven roads that are prone to skidding in the winter – you could even consider investing in winter tyres.

A reminder: you should always have a spare tyre, ideally in the back of your car, in case any of your tyres deflate or wear when you’re on the road.

Take a look at your oil levels

A cold car will appear to be low on oil on the dipstick. Ensure that the oil level on your motor’s dipstick is between the minimum and maximum marks because if your car is substantially low on oil, it could result in your car breaking down. If your car is extremely low on oil, it could even result in damage to the engine.

Check your brakes’ condition

Your car’s brakes should always be in excellent working order, but in the winter, it is super essential that they are in quality working condition. If your car has been left unused and vacant in the cold for a few days, you should start the engine slowly, as certain parts of the car such as the handbrake or discs may have frozen.

Consider having your brakes checked out if they squeal or produce other unusual or unnatural sounds.

Make sure the wipers are in working condition

To avoid an unnecessary visit to the car garage this winter, ensure that your vehicle’s wipers are in good working condition, with no faults or tears – simply check to see if they can clean your windscreen properly and effectively. As a forewarning, do not pull wiper blades from frozen glass or turn them on if the screen is iced over, as the rubber could potentially tear.

Also, ensure you have a good amount of washer fluid, as the wet conditions of winter will substantially increase the amount of moisture and wet substances such as melted snow splashing your windscreen.

Fill up on coolant

Car coolant or antifreeze is essential for your vehicle because it prevents the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Make sure your car’s coolant isn’t running low before heading out into the cold. Additionally, make sure there are no leaks in your vehicle’s engine components that could cause coolant to leak.

Check your car’s lights

A huge but obvious risk of winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, resulting in decreased daylight. As a result, you will want to ensure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition and provide the brightest possible light. If one of your car’s lights is out or not as bright as it should be, you should definitely have it replaced in time for the winter.

By paying close attention to the above aspects of your vehicle, you can greatly reduce the chances of having to make a non-routine visit to your local car garage over the coming months. Always bear in mind that for all of your MOT and vehicle servicing needs in Thurrock, our team is Advanced Service Centre is ready and available to answer your call.