Preparing your car for the worst of winter’s onslaught

Man inspecting his car engine in winter

It is the weatherman’s fault, suggests motoring journalist Iain Robertson, who feels that ‘crying wolf’ on the climate front should not be a reason to ignore planning for Arctic chills, icy roads, frozen washer-bottles and a commute-inhibiting snowfall.

We have an understandable tendency to ignore people, who warn us about possible changes that may have a negative impact on our lives, when they do. On the other hand, BBC weatherman, Michael Fish, is reported famously to have downplayed The Great Storm of 1987, which had a catastrophic effect on many people’s lives.

Every year, for the past few, it has been forecast that severe weather conditions lay ahead, although only a gentle fluttering of snow and some frosty mornings have occurred. Yet, we must not rely on ‘global warming’ to keep the worst conditions at bay. Preparation is the key and Mr Clutch Autocentres can help you to reduce the risk with a cost-effective, 12-Point Winter Service (www.mrclutch.com/winter-service) that costs a mere £19.99.

It is vital to see and be seen, so the wiper-blades and all lights are checked thoroughly. Lower temperatures place strain on your vehicle’s electrical system, so the fan-belt, alternator and battery condition are all tested to ensure their efficiency. Naturally, maintaining good traction on slippery surfaces is vital, so Mr Clutch Autocentres check the tyres thoroughly, including tread depth and tyre pressures. Frozen fluids will side-line your vehicle, so the coolant, windscreen washer bottle, brake, clutch and power steering levels are all checked and topped-up where necessary.

You can book in your car, or van, using the online service (mrclutch.com), either from home, the office, or using your mobile telephone.

However, there are some additional things that you might consider, especially if you have planned longer cross-country trips to rural areas, to visit friends and relatives over the festive period:

  • Create a ‘Winter Travel Pack’
  • Carry a First Aid Kit
  • Place a warm blanket on the car’s back seat
  • Have a de-icer spray and ice-scraper to hand
  • Place a pair of warm gloves in the driver’s door pocket.

On a personal front, I am less concerned about the car skidding in adverse weather conditions, because my car’s winter tyres were refitted in early-November (they will be swapped back to the summer tyres in early-March, at my local Mr Clutch Autocentre). As an extra safeguard, I also tuck a plastic snow-shovel in the boot, just in case the car needs to be dug out of a snowdrift.

The key to all of these activities lies in preparing for the worst. While Mr Clutch Autocentres can look after most aspects of our motor vehicles, we do have a responsibility to our passengers and to ourselves, when motoring during the winter months. Being prepared will enhance both your safety and security, as well as that of other road-users.