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Winter servicing for cars

Is your car ‘winter ready’? What exactly does ‘winter ready’ mean? Winter service, what?

It’s that time of year again. The daylight hours are short. The air is bitter and icy. You’d rather be in bed wrapped up like a burrito of linens and blankets, but scraping frost from the windscreen every other day is getting pretty old. You grab the garden hose to try and melt off enough ice to see out of the windows, but there’s only a trickle which is shortly choked off by the ice that has solidified somewhere deep in the bowels of the plumbing pipework. Great! Still, we need to hit the road for the daily commute or the school run, and time is running thin. This means that it’s imperative that the car should be in good order to cope with the cold conditions faced. I think everybody has experienced, at least once, the gut-sinking feeling when suddenly one morning the cars starter motor just isn’t sounding quite as sprightly as usual. The cranking slows and fades into a series of fast clicking noises and then nothing. The battery has given up the ghost and left you now frantically trying to organise roadside assistance or harassing an elderly neighbour to give a jump-start. Or worse yet, you are the elderly neighbour being harassed during your much looked forward to morning cuppa and Chanel 7 breakfast show. There’s nothing more stressful especially when the day hasn’t even started yet!

It’s a great idea to have a ‘winter service’ or inspection to ensure your vehicle is in safe and reliable condition to tackle the cold weather. There is a lot of extra strain and use of certain areas of the vehicle over the winter months, some of which are as follows:

With low visibility we use our lights much more than usual, both for our own vision and also to be seen by other motorists.

Tyres need to be maintained and have sufficient tread to cope with slippery road conditions and combat aquaplaning on the highway.

You’ll hear more squealing belts than any other time of year, as the rubber hardens and becomes less pliable and tractive in the cold – meaning more tendency to slip if in poor condition or under-tensioned.

Cold climates affect the rate of car battery discharge, and extreme temperatures slow the chemical reaction occurring inside of lead acid batteries. Cold engines and thick lubricants will make the starter motor demand more electrical current which is taxing on batteries (not to mention all of the extra electrical load from demisters, wipers, heater fans, etc). If you are in doubt about your battery condition, you can have it tested to give an indication of its health.

Your wiper blades need to be in top condition during winter to ensure the best visibility when water is cleared from the windscreen. Streaking, smearing, squeaking noises or physical degradation are all signs that your wipers should be replaced. A good windscreen wash detergent additive will help to keep smearing of dirt and bugs to a minimum.

Cabin heating is carried out by the engine coolant running through the heater core which transfers radiant heat to the cabin air. Low coolant levels, blocked heater cores and poor engine water circulation will all result in a lack of cabin heating. If you’re planning on heading to the extreme cold (such as snow fields), you need to have a sufficient concentration of anti-freeze in your engine cooling system to prevent freezing when the vehicle is parked.

If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a service/inspection feel free to give us a call (03) 5331 7755. We are happy to help keep you and your car safe on the roads this winter.