Is Your Car Ready For Winter?

Posted on Friday 14 December 2018 by CarTakeBack

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As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, it's a good idea to prepare your car ready for winter.

Here's our tips for on what you should have prepared in case you get stuck in snowy or icy conditions!

 Winter Warning Sign

Emergency kit

We've all heard those stories of people being stuck on the motorway for hours during blizzards, whilst an accident is cleared, or having to wait for the recovery truck to collect your car after a breakdown. So, it's useful to be prepared for a cold evening stuck in your car! You should have the following items in the boot or the cabin as part of your emergency kit to make your wait more safe and comfortable:

  • Hat, gloves, scarf, coat, Wellies or boots.
  • Blanket.
  • High viz jacket.
  • Torch (fully charged).
  • Warning triangle.
  • Ice scraper and de-icer.
  • Shovel.
  • First aid kit.
  • Mobile phone and the correct charging cable for the socket in your car, or a portable battery pack.
  • Food that can stay in your car over the winter months without expiring quickly, like biscuits and cereal bars.
  • Bottles of water for drinking, which can also be used to clear the windscreen if the washer jets are frozen.


Antifreeze Being Poured Into The Car

Antifreeze is used to stop the car's cooling system from freezing, and the engine from overheating. As the weather gets colder, it's important that you check the levels of antifreeze in your car. When the engine is cold, open the cap on the coolant reservoir (this will be under your bonnet - check your car's handbook to find out exactly where), and make sure that your coolant is between the maximum and minimum levels that are marked on the inside of the reservoir. If it's not, top it up with coolant that contains antifreeze, which you can get from most motoring shops.

Whilst you're in there, check how effective your antifreeze is, as it can reduce in effectiveness over time. To do this you need an antifreeze tester, like this one: Antifreeze Tester

It only takes a few minutes to do, and the tester is reusable.

Windscreen wash

Windscreen washer fluid is used all year round, but more frequently in winter because of the salt and grit on the roads, damp weather, and freezing frosts. Make sure your washer fluid is topped up, and that it's a screen wash which doesn’t freeze (it'll tell you this on the bottle). Pour the fluid in using a funnel, so that you don't spill it on your engine.

Dirty Car Window


Roads get icy over winter. To make sure you've got the best grip, check your tyre tread for wear. The more worn your tyres are, the less efficient they are at gripping frosty roads. There is a legal requirement for tyre tread to be at least 1.6mm deep.

If you live in a particularly snowy, remote area, or somewhere prone to icy roads, you should look into installing winter tyres. These are made to have maximum grip on icy roads with their tread pattern and rubber compound.

Read our latest blog about winter tyres

 Cars Parked Up In Winter

Winter car check

If you're concerned about the suitability of your car this winter, many garages will offer a winter car check which cost very little and checks all the vital components such as wipers, lights and fluid levels. Some even offer the check for free!