Of the all seasons, winter is without doubt the toughest on both car and driver. Here we provide some essential tips on taking care of your car during the cold, wet winter months — so you can enjoy peace of mind behind the wheel whether you’re stuck in the snow or driving home for Christmas.

1. Check Your Fluid Levels

Freezing temperatures can cause all sorts of problems beneath the bonnet, but thankfully most of them can be avoided by checking that all your fluids are well topped up before the onslaught of winter. A 50:50 mix of water and coolant/antifreeze is advisable, as this protects your engine from temperatures as low as -30°C. We’d also recommend using a high quality screen wash that offers protection in extreme, low temperatures. This will ensure the fluid doesn’t freeze in the tank, so you can clear the windscreen on even the coldest winter days.

2. Tyre Pressure and Condition

When driving on wet, icy or even
snowy roads, grip really is everything — so it’s important to check the pressure and condition of your tyres regularly as the season progresses. Under-inflated tyres could lead to reduced grip and premature tyre wear, so make sure they’re properly inflated. It’s a sensible idea to check your tread depth, too. If the tyres are worn low, invest in a whole new set before the season takes hold.

3. Battery

Before the cold snap arrives, check that your battery is fully charged, giving it a good charge if necessary. If you’re concerned about the condition of your battery, take it to a professional mechanic as they’re better placed to assess its condition, and will replace it for you if it’s required.

4. Lights

Dark nights and gloomy days mean you’ll need to use your lights more than at any other time of year. Before the clocks change, check that all your lights are working, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, reversing lights and indicators — replacing bulbs where necessary. It’s also a good idea to carry a complete set of spare bulbs with you at all times during the winter, so you’re not caught short in the middle of nowhere without any headlights.

Now that the winter is finally over, there are still jobs to complete to get your car in perfect condition for the upcoming seasons. Head over to the main Car Care Guide page  here for each of the season-specific guides.