You car is far more vulnerable during the winter months and as the temperature falls and a cold frost descends, the chances of a breakdown increase.
The number of breakdowns almost doubles during these cold months so make sure that you are prepared by taking some evasive and preventative action to keep you car in top shape and increase your chances of not becoming one of those statistics.
One of the most common problems is a lack of antifreeze in the cooling system, and the cost of a bottle of the blue stuff compared to the misery of a mechanical breakdown or worse, a repair bill for subsequent damage to the coolant system, makes this a top priority for preparing your car in readiness for the cold snap. You can get a tester kit from most car accessory shops or ask your local garage to check that the concentration of antifreeze level in your cooling system is sufficient.
There is nothing worse than running out of the door, already running late, and realising that the windows are frozen over. A common mistake is to use some boiling water from the kettle to clear the screen, which many people have found can actually crack your windscreen. Avoid the kettle scenario by using a readymade screen wash mixture that already has antifreeze properties in it, which at the same time also ensures that the liquid in your washer bottle does not freeze up and split or damage your pump. If you do have to resort to pouring water on your screen make sure that is only warm not boiling water if you want to avoid a possible repair bill for damage to your windscreen.
Be kind to your battery
During the winter months, we tend to have everything running all at once and you need to think about being considerate towards your battery so that it looks after your needs when you need it most. Avoid switching on your headlights, heater blower or rear windscreen heater until the engine is actually running. Also make sure that you switch off your lights before stopping the engine and switch of the heated rear window as soon as the screen is clear. In the same way that you might go around the house switching lights off that are not being used to save energy, you should adopt the same mentality with your car battery so that it can preserve as much energy for when you need it most.
Other tips to consider
Remember to keep any can of de-icer that you have outside of the car so that you actually get to it when you need it. Trying to unlock a car door that is frozen to get to the de-icer will only add to the frustration levels especially if you are in a mad rush to get going.
Keep your air conditioning in working order and ready for the summer by running it for about 10 minutes every month which will keep the seals from drying out and it should demist the windscreen whilst you are doing it, even if you do not need the cooling effect.
A few minutes of preparation and preventative action will avoid the misery of becoming one of the number of people who find that their car has broken down when they need it most.
Neil Loar is an auto technician. He enjoys writing sharing his insights and tips on various auto and driving blogs. Click here to view the best place to buy a Used Nissan.