Freezing temperatures, slippery ice and darker nights… driving in the winter always brings extra challenges. And with our journeys restricted to essential trips only right now, it’s even more important that we can get safely from A to B and back again.
So, what can you do to help you and your car overcome the icy roads this winter? Well, quite a lot actually.
1. Keep your car running safely and smoothly
Let’s start with two of the big-hitters when it comes to making journeys safe and reliable in winter: your battery and your tyres.
Cold weather is one of the main causes of battery failure (along with lack of use) so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the condition of your battery throughout the winter months. If you do find your car in need of a helping hand to get started, make sure you’ve got the right equipment to-hand.
We’d recommend the Halfords Advanced Lithium Jump Starter. This neat little piece of kit is powerful enough to get a 12V vehicle up to 2L started and small enough to fit neatly in your glove compartment. You don’t need to worry about having a donor car to-hand and the jump starter can be easily recharged in your car or at home.
Another option is the Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger Plus, which protects and repairs 12V batteries in vehicles up to 3L. The charger even has a dedicated ‘winter charge mode’, which has been specifically developed for charging vehicles in cold weather.
We also offer a Free Battery Health Check at all of our autocentres, where one of our expert technicians will inspect your battery to making sure it’s in good working order. You can book the check online and we have a number of procedures in place to keep you and our colleagues safe throughout the process (find out more here).
Tyres that are worn down, underinflated or in a generally poor condition will struggle to grip when you’re driving on snow and ice – making already challenging conditions even harder to handle.
You can check the basic condition of your tyres by being on the lookout for any cuts, splits or nicks. A digital tyre inflator like the Michelin High Power Tyre Inflator is an easy way of getting your tyre inflation levels back up to standard (your vehicle handbook should tell you the recommended tyre pressure for your car), while a tyre depth gauge will help you to see if your tread depth is at the legal level of 1.6mm.
If you’d prefer to get a second opinion on your tyres, then one of our expert technicians will carry out a pressure check and inspect the condition of your tyres as part of our Free Tyre Check. You can book the service online at your local autocentre.
And if you live in an area of the country that sees a lot of snow in winter, then it might be worth investing in some all-season or winter tyres. These tyres have a deeper tread and special tread pattern, giving greater grip and making it easier to drive in the snow. We explore the topic of all-season and winter tyres in more detail in our recent article, so be sure to check it out if you want to know more.
2. Keep your vision clear
Visibility can be a real issue in winter weather, so our next stop is your windscreen and windscreen wipers.
While you can’t stop snow, sleet and rain from falling on your windscreen, you can control what happens when it does – and help to keep your windscreen clear at the same time.
Duxback is a revolutionary treatment that our talented autocentre technicians can apply to your windscreen. The treatment adds a coating to the glass that repels water and other liquids, which means that rain, sleet and snow simply beads, sheds and rolls off, and ice doesn’t stick.
A Duxback windscreen treatment lasts 6 months and you can book the service online at any Halfords autocentre.
Windscreen wipers also have a part to play in keeping your vision clear and they need to be in good working order. A quick visual inspection should reveal if yours need replacing and you can find a range of options at Halfords.com. Just enter your registration number to see the results that will fit your vehicle.
Also, make sure that you don’t switch your windscreen wipers on when your windscreen is frozen or covered in snow. If you do, you run the risk of blowing the wiper control fuse if your windscreen wipers are frozen to the screen.
3. Keep your liquids topped up
Tying in neatly with the previous point about visibility is the need to keep your liquids topped-up – particularly your screenwash and antifreeze.
Hands up all those who’ve desperately tugged on the screenwash lever on a frosty winter’s day only for nothing to happen? (Yeah, us to). This is an easy one to avoid: all you need to do is get your hands on a good quality screenwash to prevent the water from freezing.
We love the Halfords -10°c Ready Mixed Screenwash. Just pour it straight into your screenwash reservoir and then the liquid will take care of keeping your washer jets free and cleaning your windscreen. It’ll also help to prevent your screen from freezing.
Also known as ‘engine coolant’, antifreeze helps to ensure that the water used to cool your engine doesn’t freeze in cold weather. It’s a definite must for winter driving and we’d recommend the Halfords OAT Ready Mixed Antifreeze as it can be used all year round as a coolant and as antifreeze during the winter months. Just make sure you check that it’s compatible with your car first.
4. Keep your emergency essentials stocked up
Despite our best efforts and forward-planning, unexpected breakdowns sometimes occur. Don’t get caught out in the cold this winter by making sure you’ve got all the emergency essentials in the back of your car.
Winter in-car essentials
Here are the main safety products that we reckon you should take with you on those essential journeys:
- Hi-vis vest
- Spare screenwash
- Snow shovel
- First aid kit
- Warning triangle
- Food and drink
We’ve singled out a mobile phone as it really is the most important bit of kit to have with you. Always make sure your phone’s fully charged and pop a charger into your car so that maintain that charge when you’re out and about.
5. Keep relying on the experts
As an essential retailer, we’re continuing to keep the nation moving on their essential journeys during the national lockdown.
Our stores and garages remain open, which means that you can still benefit from our key winter services, checks and WeFit services:
- Free 5-point Winter Car Check: We’ll check your headlights and brake lights, wiper blades, battery and windscreen, and MOT due date – all for free!
- 10-Point Winter Car Health Check: For only £15, we’ll check all of the above plus your type depth, tyre inflation, oil level, screenwash level and AdBlue and coolant levels.
- Halfords mobile experts: Our safe, contactless and mobile technicians will come to you at home or place of work for tyre replacements, battery replacements, oil changes, windscreen chip repairs and more.
- WeFit: If you need a hand installing new windscreen wiper blades, headlight bulbs, batteries and more, then our WeFit service is the answer.
We might not be driving very much at the moment, but let’s stay safe when we do so and keep the winter weather at bay.
Good luck on your essential journeys and remember, if you want to keep moving this winter then you want Halfords.