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How to winter-ready your car

By Alexandra Lawrence, 02 Jun 2019 Car Advice

Winter car essentials

Things you should be checking this weekend before the weather turns nasty.

This week, parts of Australia endured one of the coldest May days in almost 20 years. And, to make things worse, meteorologists reckon this winter is going to one of the coldest on record.

So, with winter officially kicking off this weekend, here are some of the most important safety checks you should be taking care of immediately. 

Check your tyres

Winter car essentials

Not only should you be checking wear and tread levels, but tyre pressures are also vital. Be sure your tyres are filled to the correct pressure, according to the vehicle placard (usually located inside the driver’s door).

If you’re not sure how to check for signs of wear and whether your tyres have enough tread, you can check out our step-by-step guide here.

Make sure to replace your tyres as soon as possible if necessary.

MORE WhichCar Tyre Talk: Tyre pressures 

Wiper blades

Winter car essentials

An icy windscreen is not only frustrating – but can be dangerous. Combine that with a fogged-up glass? Chaos. Thankfully, there are products out there to help.

Making sure you’ve got fresh rubber to wipe away worries, I mean, rain droplets is a good start. Windscreen treatments like RainX help water bead off the glass when it rains and give the wipers a barrier of lubrication, helping them last longer. Avoid using your wipers on an icy windscreen as it can damage the rubber; instead, invest in a window scraper.

MORE: How to change your windscreen wipers

Anti-fog treatments for the interior are another great winter investment (also fantastic for using on bathroom mirrors prone to fogging up) and there are some car care brands with spray-on ice treatments now, too – to save you from reeling out the hose each morning to de-frost your windows.

MORE Top five car features to keep you warm during winter  

Invest in your vision

Yes, of course you need good vision. But we’re not talking about spectacles here – we’re talking about your headlights. A general rule of thumb is that if one side fails, the other side’s probably on the way out. This happens because the lifespan of halogen globes is measured in hours, and most people replace both at the same time – at least, it’s a good idea to.

If you’re one of the lucky ones with factory-fitted Xenon or LED headlights, you have our permission to skip to the next section. If not, listen up please!

A good set of LED headlights will cut through dark, gloomy conditions like you wouldn’t believe. They’re an investment up front (around $200/pair), but they last around 37 times longer than halogens and will help you see 50 times better.

While you’re at it, make sure all your other lights are working as well.

MORE How to align your headlights

Battery care

Winter car essentials

Do you remember the last time your car battery died?  It was probably winter, right? Well, just like our bodies tend to cramp up in the cold weather, so can the plates inside a car battery.

Most automotive and mechanical stores offer free battery checks, which you should take advantage off, especially if your car has been struggling to start recently. After all, the last thing you want to do is be stuck somewhere when it’s freezing cold out.

MORE Warning signs your battery could be about to fail 

Service your car

Winter car essentials

Every car owner knows they should have their car regularly serviced, but this is especially true if you plan on taking a winter road trip this frosty season.

If a service isn’t on your agenda right now, at least check the following before taking off on a trip: engine oil, coolant level, windscreen washer fluid, brake fluid etc.

Check out our easy to follow maintenance tips here.

MORE Five Australian road trips for winter