Winter is just around the corner and thankfully, South Africa boasts a warmer climate compared too many other countries. In the same way that we need to prepare for winter – swopping summer clothes for winter clothes, stocking up on warm woolly socks and delicious soup- so too do we need to care for our cars. Matrix has listed 4 tips that will ensure that your car is kept in tip-top condition during the next few winter months.
Lighting up the road
One of the many hazards we as motorists face in winter, is that the sun sets earlier in the evening and rises later in the morning. This means there is less light, especially when travelling to work or school. As a result, it’s important to do everything you possibly can to ensure that your vehicle’s lights are in excellent working condition.
Many motorists think that headlights should only be used at night, but to ensure that you can be seen at all time of the day, day and night, it’s important to use them during daylight hours as well. Check that your brake lights, headlights and fog lights are in working condition. If a bulb has blown, make sure to fix it before the winter starts and check the colour of your headlights – if they appear yellow or foggy, it would be a good idea to purchase an easy restoration kit or replace the bulbs.
Cold weather can be hard on car batteries. Batteries sometimes struggle to operate in cold weather, and as a result, if a battery is weak in summer, it will be dead by the end of winter. To prevent this, it is a good idea to have your battery tested to ensure that it is within good working order. Mechanics recommend buying a new battery every 3 years, but depending on how often you drive and your driving behaviour, you could even push it to 5 years.
It’s also important to keep the battery warm so invest in a car cover or try and park your car in a sheltered spot, or a garage. Before you take off, turn the ignition and let the alternator charge the battery for a few seconds. Then you can switch on the radio, lights, etc.
Keeping cool with Coolant
Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is very important as it keeps your engine from freezing when temperatures plummet. It’s a good idea to make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out.
Before winter gets into full swing, be sure to check your car’s window defroster and its climate control system to make sure both items are still working properly. Their purpose is obvious: The climate control system will help keep you warm in the winter (and can help keep your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your windows from icing up. Both items are crucial to maintaining comfort and safety throughout the winter.