7 tips to avoid a car breakdown

Hitting the roads this winter? Check out these 7 tips from Green Flag

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Dean Parfett: Roadside Manager Hampshire, Green Flag

The winter period is one that many drivers fear.The prospect of facing wind rain and ice along with increased road usage as the weather gets colder can result in a less than idyllic situation for driving.

Luckily there are plenty of things we can do to protect and aid ourselves and our cars on the road these chilly winter months

1. Give your car a check-up

Before winter sets in, check your cars mechanical and electrical systems are up to scratch. Things like batteries, oil, cooling systems, tyres, wipers and fluids are all put to the test. Batteries run flat quicker and tyre pressures are all crucial. If your car is due a service, make sure you get it done now to avoid any unwanted surprises on a cold winter’s morning. If you are ever unsure, just pop into your local garage and they can check most things for you. Many garages offer a full winter check as the cold months set in.

2. Get to know your car

Knowing your vehicle is important, make sure you know how to open bonnets, know where your spare wheel is, locking wheel nut key, jack and wheel brace and make sure you know where the jacking points are on your car.

3. Prepare for the worst

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. If the roads are covered in snow and ice, ask yourself, ‘Do I need to make this journey?’ If the answer is yes then there will be a few things you will need to take with you. Make sure you’ve got some warm blankets and clothes, hot drinks and snacks but keep the snacks in the boot out of temptations way, a fully charged mobile phone and charger, and finally tell somebody the route and what your estimated time of arrival will be.

4. Keep control of your car

Control is key in cold weather, avoid using things like cruise control but increase your braking distances and don’t brake or accelerate hard.

5. Top-up your fuel

Keep your fuel tank, topped. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, keeping your engine running  is the only thing that is going to keep you and your passengers warm.

6. Consider winter tyres

If you live in rural areas that are more prone to snow, ice and floods it is worth considering a set of winter tyres, they perform better in bad weather.

7. Know what to do when you break down

In the event of a breakdown, get out of your vehicle the safest way you can. It might be worth calling your emergency services before your breakdown provider if you are in a vulnerable position and make sure children are kept safe.

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