10 essential tips for preparing your car for winter
by Melanie May | 2 min read October 14th, 2021
Brace yourself (and your car), winter is coming…
The typical Irish winter weather of gale-force winds and heavy rain alongside low temperatures and ice and snow can all wreak havoc on your car. As if that wasn’t enough, as soon as the clocks go back we often have to do a lot of our driving in the darkness.
So, if you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to winter-proof your wheels.
We’ve put together a handy guide to help you prepare your car for the cold weather. This will not only protect your car throughout the winter but help you stay that little bit safer on the roads too.
1. See and be seen
Firstly, check the lights (heads, tail, indicators, fogs, sides) and make sure all your bulbs are working and your lenses are clean. It is so important in the winter to do all you can to see and be seen on the roads.
2. Protect that paint job
To protect your car’s exterior from the harsh winter weather, give it a good wash and then dry it thoroughly before waxing the car with a synthetic wax or sealant for winter protection.
3. Check the tread
Yes, we know the minimum legal car tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, but you really ought to change your tyres well before they get worn down this far. Tyres with a tread depth below 3mm will struggle to clear standing water on the roads and this can increase your chance of aquaplaning.
4. Inflate those car tyres
While we are on the subject of tyres, make sure the tyre pressure is correct too. The air inside tyres shrinks in cold temperatures. Under-inflated tyres can reduce grip and affect handling, especially in slippery conditions.
5. Fill those fluids
In the winter, it is important to fill your reservoir up with screen wash and not just water. Adding screen wash to water stops the water from freezing and the chemicals in screen wash cut through grease, grime and dead bugs, which improves windscreen visibility.
6. Change those blades
You should replace your wiper blades once a year or as soon as you notice cracks in the rubber or the blades don't effectively clear the windscreen. The heat and UV light of the summer can dry out the blades and cause them to become brittle and crack, so it is important to check them now before the winter weather arrives.
7. Defrost the windscreen
When it comes to defrosting your windscreen, we don’t recommend using a kettle of water. A de-icer spray is a quicker and safer solution. We suggest purchasing a few cans now before you actually need them and keep at least one handy in your car.
8. Make your own de-icer
However, if you are worried about using too many chemicals, you can always make your own de-icer solution at home. Just mix three parts white vinegar to one part water and spray on your windscreen. You can also use this as a preventative measure by spraying your car windscreen at night.
9. Clean the windscreen
A dirty, greasy, smeared windscreen makes the glare of the low winter sun even more blinding and dangerous. So, make sure you use a good window cleaner and give both the inside and outside a proper clean. Having sunglasses handy and using your sun-visors when you are driving will also help reduce winter sun glare.
10. Carry the essentials
Put together a basic emergency kit — a blanket, raincoat, torch, first aid kit, spare bulbs — and keep it in the boot of your car. It really is better to be safe than sorry, especially if your car breaks down and you, and possibly your family, have to wait by the side of the road in the dark and cold.
As you can see, preparation is key to winter-proofing your car and keeping yourself and other road users safe this winter.
This guidance is for general information purposes only. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.