Monday, 7 January 2019

How To Drive Safely This Winter

It's January, and it's time to get back to normal (whatever 'normal' is). The weather is rubbish, it's getting colder and the weather is getting more treacherous as the first few months of the year go on. It's time to make sure that everything around you is safe and one of the most important things to think about is your car and how safe it is.

If your car isn't as safe as it should be, then it will put not only you at risk, everytime you get behind the wheel but it will also put your family and others around you at risk. So here are our top five tips for keeping your car in roadworthy condition throughout the winter.


Now it is the time that you need to check that your MOT is up to date, it is a legal requirement and something that every car over three years old has to have. An MOT garage will check your car is roadworthy and safe, it will check things from seatbelts to windscreens. But it will not check the engine, gearbox or clutch. These will need to be checked separately. You need a valid MOT certificate to get insurance andf tax for your car and a valid MOT is a legal requirement to drive in UK. You can get more advice about MOT's here. Make sure your MOT testing centre and tester are licensed by (VOSA) The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, otherwise you will find your MOT isn't valid. You need to get an MOT done every year if the car is over 3 years old and you can book it and get it done up to 28 days before it is actually due. If your car passes the MOT then you will get your certificate, and maybe a list of minor things that need looking at in the near future. If your car fails an MOT, you will get a list of the major problems with the car and what needs doing to them, as well as a list of any minor problems.


Although this should have been done before winter, I guess it can easily slip by and be forgotten. If you hear noises from underneath your bonnet, it could be a loose belt that will lead to problems with overheating and damage the battery. Or it could be noise coming from the actual engine, then you will really be in need of some quick repair work to get your car on the road again. A service will check everything from steering to brakes and windscreen wipers to seat belts. You can get different levels of care from a service, but to keep your car in good condition and avoid expensive repairs in the future, make sure you go for a good and thorough service.


I cannot stress how important it is to have decent and road worthy tyres on your car. You need a proper tread on them and this can be determined by the 20p test. if you insert a 20p coin into the tread of your tyres, and the outer band of the 20p in covered by the tread, then your tyres are legal and road worthy. If not, then you need to get them changed! The tread on your tyres will determine whether you can brake in time, without crashing into something. The tread on the tyres is designed to disperse water that you might pick up when driving the car, if you don't have enough tread, you will end up 'aquaplaning', this is an extremely dangerous and scary experience if you are driving at speed. If you are stopped by the police, you can be fined heavily for not having roadworthy tyres. Don't forget to check the spare tyre in the boot, This needs to be roadworthy too because you never know when you might need to change it. A wide variety of tyres are available in Northampton at Calmac Tyres. Book yours online for free


Anti-freeze is the stuff that will stop the cooling part of your engine from freezing over. You know how cold it can get outside in the winter? it's often cold enough to freeze puddles on the ground, so we don't want it to freeze the cooling system of your car otherwise it can cause you problems. Anti-freeze stops your radiator from freezing and causing costly damage and it also helps to stop your engine from corroding over the winter. You can buy anti-freeze as a concentrated form, that you add water to or as a 50-50 mix that is already done for you.


Windows get so dirty in the winter, you need to make sure that you have a good vision out of all of the windows in the car. In winter the amount of cars, that drive around with snow or ice on their windows is shocking, this will obscure your vision as you drive and can cause an accident. Also if you drive around with snow or ice on your windscreen, you could be driving along and suddenly the snow or ice, shifts causing your view to be blocked - that's an accident waiting to happen! Check the windows for cracks or chips too, because a crack or chip can cause headlights to dazzle more into your eyes, momentarily blinding you and causing an accident. As soon as you get a chip or scratch, get it repaired. Take care with your car windows, especially your windscreen. Never pour boiling water on the windows in the cold weather, to clear them because the sudden change in temperature will crack them. Replace your windscreen wipers often, making sure they work properly and they don't have a build up of dirt and grime.

Prevention is always better than cure, so keeping your car in roadworthy condition, keeps you safe and the repair bills down. Unexpected bills are the last thing you need at this time of the year when we are trying to get back to normal after Christmas. You can get more advice from Calmac Tyre in Northampton, they are only a phone call away and if you have any doubts about the safety of your vehicle, they can help you. Give them a ring on 01604 757538.

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