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Prepare your car for a cold-snap

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is offering drivers tips on preparing their cars for winter, as Arctic winds and snowfall are forecast over the next few days.

It is predicted that unseasonably cold temperatures will be accompanied by wintry showers on the east coast and in Scotland with hail, sleet and even snow on higher ground.

Peter Rodger, IAM Chief Examiner said: "Now is the time to give your car a health-check before winter conditions take their toll. Bad weather can strike quickly, and more severely than you expect, so it’s really important to get your car ready to face the elements before they deteriorate."

Mr Rodger suggests some easy tips to prepare your car for winter:

1. In a British winter you are more likely to encounter wind and rain so make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition and you clean the inside of the windscreen regularly

2. Do a proper winter check of your vehicle particularly the tyres, top up your washer fluid and make sure your old ice scraper and cans of de-icer are up to the job

3. The legal minimum for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, but for optimum safety start looking for replacements if the depth is below 3mm. Tyres with less than 1mm of tread depth have one third the braking friction of one at the bare legal min of 1.6mm, and below 3mm the tyres skid resistance begins to decline rapidly

4. Check all lights. While someone observes the lights around the car, switch on each light one-by-one: headlights, sidelights, fog lights, indicators, brake lights, reversing lights, hazard warning lights and number plate lights. If alone, park by a reflective surface such as a garage door, illuminate all lights in sequence and look for the reflections

5. Pack an emergency kit in the boot. The IAM recommends a warm coat and a high visibility jacket, some food and water, a good pair of boots, de-icer and scraper, a torch, a spade and a mobile phone with a well-charged battery. It’s also a good idea to programme your breakdown provider's emergency number, and your own customer reference number into your phone

Mr Rodger continued: "A survey has found that ten out of 11 rural councils still have not managed to complete all the necessary road repairs after last winter’s severe weather, and it is likely that budget cuts ill make things worse. If this problem is reflected across the country, having a well-maintained car, with particular attention to your tyres, is going to be of massive importance."