Motoring

Is your car ready for the winter chill?

Overheating is not good for your car, but overly cold weather also poses some challenges.

While many provinces may still experience four seasons in one day, the definite cold weather that comes with June is just weeks away. Use this time wisely to get your vehicle ready for winter.

Eugene Herbert, CEO of MasterDrive, suggests using a helpful acronym created by the RAC in the UK to prepare your car for winter. “The FORCES acronym helps drivers effectively run through a winter checklist. Go through the list before winter arrives in full force.”

Fuel

While this applies to all seasons, it is essential not to drive with low fuel levels in winter. The Western Cape experiences winter rainfall and rain during commutes creates extra congestion, which increases fuel consumption.

Oil

Colder weather makes oil denser. Check that oil levels are correct and not too full, as this can create problems. Newer vehicles will alert drivers, but it is important to do a manual check in older vehicles.

Rubber

This includes both tyres and wiper blades. Checking the tread on your tyres is essential across all seasons, but tyres tend to experience more wear and tear in cold weather. For every 10⁰C drop in temperature, tyre pressure decreases. Overinflated tyres may seem normal in the morning but can become problematic once they warm up. Regular checks are crucial, especially if your vehicle does not alert you. Additionally, do not rush to inflate your tyres if the warning light shows in the morning; give the air time to warm up first. Windscreen wipers in good condition are just as important during dry winters as during wet ones. Windscreens get dirty more often, especially if parked outside overnight or under carports.

Coolant

Coolant protects your engine from damage that colder weather can cause. In frigid weather, coolant lowers the freezing point of the fluid, keeping it liquid while circulating through the engine.

Electrics

When temperatures drop below 10⁰C, the chemical reaction in batteries slows down. Suppose your battery is near the end of its lifespan. In that case, preventative steps are limited to parking inside a garage if you have one, performing regular maintenance on lead-acid batteries by topping up the battery water (some batteries are maintenance-free), and avoiding leaving vehicles standing for extended periods. If this is unavoidable, use a trickle charger.

Screen wash

After condensation or even frozen windshields on cold winter mornings, washer fluid is essential for clear visibility. If you park outside overnight, you may also find your windscreen frozen first thing in the morning. MasterDrive recommends using a freeze-prevention washer fluid, especially in this circumstance.

Source: MotorPress / MasterDrive

 

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