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10 Ways to avoid a Breakdown this Winter

A breakdown is never convenient, but with colder temperatures on the way and everyone's pockets a little lighter after Christmas, January is probably the worst time for it to happen. Thankfully, we have a handy list of Ten tips to help you avoid a breakdown this New Year. 

1. Don’t run out

Winter driving means far more start/stop driving and will be harder on your fuel consumption. Make sure you’re always setting off on a full tank, or at least enough to last the journey. The last thing you want is to run out miles from a petrol station in the cold. 

2. Check your levels

This may seem obvious to most drivers, but checking your oil  and water levels can often be overlooked. Keep your engine healthy with regular checks as well as topping up oil and coolant levels when needed.  You should also top-up your windscreen washer fluid and use a good quality screen wash that can deal with the colder temperatures. 

3. Look for wear and tear

All four of your tyres should have at least 3mm of tread and be inflated to the correct pressure to ensure you’ve got the best grip on icy and wet roads. Likewise, your windscreen wipers should be replaced regularly to make sure you have perfect visibility in winter weather conditions.  

4. Breaks

It is extremely important that you maintain your brakes. You need to be checking your brake pads and replacing them regularly. Not only is damage caused by not replacing the pads far more expensive than replacing them, it can make driving extremely dangerous for you and other motorists. 

5. Don’t ignore the warnings

Are you greeted with red flashing lights every time you start the ignition? Don’t ignore them! Check your car manual to identify the problem and get it fixed ASAP. Regularly servicing your car is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of breaking down.

6. Keep the lights on

Make sure all of your lights are working properly. This includes your indicators, brake lights and fog lights. Make sure you are seen and can see, so replace any faulty bulbs or blown fuses.

7. Battery levels

Battery failure is one of the most common causes of breakdown, so check yours regularly.  If you are using an older style battery, check the fluid levels carefully and top up if required and make sure the battery connections are free from corrosion. If this is all a bit over your head it’s best to have a professional have a look for you. Here’s a list of warning signs to tell you if it’s time to go in for a checkup.

8. Be prepared

We've highlighted this in a number of blogs, but it’s important you have everything you need. At the very least, make sure you’re alway carrying a spare wheel, and the tools to replace any faulty ones. This includes a jack and wheel removing tools. Read our guide to everything else you should keep in your car for emergencies. 

9. Check the ‘Nooks and Crannies’

Rust can get everywhere and can affect the performance of the components of your car. Rust can also be a safety issue. As your car rusts, the structural integrity is lost and will be more fragile in an accident. Make sure you’re carrying out thorough checks regularly. Look for any raised bubbles in the paintwork, under floor mats and carpets, inside boot wells, door sills, door panels as well as under the vehicle. You can also prevent rust by keeping your car clean, waxing occasionally and investing in a rust preventing treatment.

10. Get a second opinion 

Follow these preventive measures and you will save yourself a lot of time, money and effort. However, not everyone knows what they’re looking at when they lift the bonnet. If you’re not the most confident with car maintenance, it may make you feel better to have a professional take a look as well. 

At SERE, our company ethos is entirely customer-focused. We pride ourselves on offering top quality car repair and maintenance so you can be assured some peace of mind. Book a service with us today online or call us on 028 9020 5100.

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