Although the days are still mostly warm and we are fortunate to be able to indulge in clear skies and slightly cooler temperatures, winter will soon be in full swing in South Africa.
Getting your car ready for the cooler months now will ensure that you have a smooth drive over the next few months and keep your car in top condition as it navigates much colder weather and roads.
We have compiled 8 valuable #TIPS to keep you safe on the road this winter season:
1. Check Your Battery Health
Car batteries are affected by temperature changes and tend to take a lot more strain in winter, as they need more current to start your engine when temperatures drop.
A quick and simple check that you can do at any time is to turn your car on and let it idle, then checking if the headlights are as bright as they should be.
If you have electric windows, open and close them to check if they still operate at the normal speed - if your windows suddenly take much longer to close or open, your battery may well be on its way out.
TIP: The safest and best option is to take your car to a battery centre and having the battery checked by a specialist who will be able to advise you if you are still good to go or close to being stuck with a dead battery soon.
2. Check Your Car Heater and Air Conditioner
While staying warm while driving is necessary, there are other reasons to keep your car's air conditioning system working properly.
Having to defog windows when visibility suddenly drops when driving is crucial to ensuring your own safety and that of those on the road with you, so ensure that you can properly defrost and stabilise your car's windscreen when it is needed.
3. Keep Your Petrol Tank Full
We have all been told it is a bad idea to drive around with a near-empty tank, but few people know why they should rather keep the tank topped up.
Cold weather causes condensation and when it comes to your petrol tank, that means water could penetrate your empty tank and cause damage through rust formation over time.
TIP: Always ensure that your tank is at least a quarter full to prevent this unforeseen issue from happening.
4. Take Your Car For A Valet
It may seem like a purely cosmetic thing but having your car thoroughly cleaned and the exterior waxed will preserve your car's paintwork and prevent unnecessary damage during colder months.
Winter also leaves us all more vulnerable to viruses and getting sick, which is why a good method of prevention is keeping your car hygienically clean.
TIP: To ensure your car's interior is not a health hazard, be sure to have it washed and disinfected often, and remember to have your car's air filters cleared as a lot of dust and other particles tend to circulate through them when you turn on your air conditioner or car fan.
5. Check Your Tyre Pressure
This should be a regular check for any car owner, but it is crucial during winter months as your tyres are extremely affected by changes in temperature.
Improperly inflated tyres affect your car's ability to brake in time and reduces the overall control you have over your vehicle when driving, not to mention increasing petrol consumption.
Be sure to have your tyre pressure checked at least every two weeks and remember to keep an eye on your tyre tread as well.
6. Get New Windshield Wipers
Being caught in the rain without wipers that do their job properly is an extremely dangerous and hazardous experience.
Visibility under any conditions is always important but even more so when there is a torrential downpour, so be sure to inspect your car's windshield wipers for cracks or wear and tear and get them replaced before you really need them to work properly.
TIP: Good quality washer fluid is just as important - consider it a small investment in your driving safety.
7. Stock Up Your Emergency Kit
If you do not have an emergency kit in your car, get one.
While most ready kits are sold with the fundamental items, it is always a good idea to add a few extras to it so that you are as prepared as possible in the event of a breakdown or other incident while out on the road.
Add a few bottles of mineral water, some pain killers, batteries, a torch, energy bars and an extra phone charger or battery pack to your emergency kit for extra peace of mind.
8. Change Your Oil
Another vital part of car care is ensuring your car has sufficient oil.
Winter months may require you to use oil of a different thickness than during warmer seasons, so consult your owner's manual or check with your service centre about the best type of oil to use during winter.
Having your oil tank drained and completely replacing your oil is also highly advisable if you want to keep your car in great running condition.
We truly hope that these tips will help you to prepare for the upcoming colder months and that you experience nothing but safe driving from now on.
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