Canberra winters can be harsh, especially on your car. Here are 7 things you should do prepare your car for winter, especially if it sleeps outside at night.
- Take it to the salon
The easiest way of getting your car ready for winter is to simply take it to the professionals. They will check for all of the following as part of a standard service. However, there are some things you can do by yourself if you’re short on time.
- Car battery lower than your iPhone ?
Extra strain is put on your car battery during winter due to the increased use of your headlights and heater. Batteries typically have a lifespan of 3-5 years so if yours is older than this, look at getting a replacement from an autoshop. It’s also useful to keep a set of jumper leads in your car in case you do get caught out.
- Don’t be a dipstick
Check the oil level in your car. If it’s looking low, you can top it up with oil purchased from an auto shop. A professional mechanic can perform an oil change if your oil is old.
- Stay Cool-ant
When the mercury is dipping below 0, you want to make sure that your engine isn’t going to freeze too. Ideally the coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. If you can’t remember the last time you put in anti-freeze and not just water, now’s a good time to top it up.
- Pump it (louder)
Tires can gradually lose pressure even without a hole. Properly inflated tyres will give you better steering and braking on the road, which becomes more important during winter when frost and rain can make the road more slippery. Check your manual to see what pressure your tyres should be inflated to as it depends on your car.
- Shine bright like a headlight
Check that all bulbs are working, including headlights, high beams and indicators. Canberra often has thick fog in the morning in winter. Not only is it dangerous for you not to be able to see what’s in front of you, it’s dangerous for other drivers who can’t see you.
- Ice, ice baby
If you don’t already own an ice scraper, you must be new to Canberra. This handy tool will make clearing the frost of your windscreen so much easier and faster and they only cost a few dollars at an autoshop. Top tip: isopropyl alcohol – the same stuff you use to clean your glasses – will melt stubborn frost quickly.
- It’s getting hot in here
Give it time to warm up. Allow five extra minutes before you leave the house to give your vehicle time to get warm, especially if it’s over 15 years old.
- Fully loaded
You may have an emergency pair of heels in the car, but what’s more important in winter is a flash light, jumper cables, driving gloves and water.
- Rug up
We’re not suggesting you invest in an electric blanket for your car (although that would be nice). One thing you can do is get an old blanket or towel to cover your wind shield to avoid icing over.