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Essential Car Care Tips You Need to Know for Winter

Essential Car Care Tips You Need to Know for Winter

According to a study by AXA Insurance, each year drivers in the UK remain unprepared for winter weather, despite regular warnings of approaching cold conditions.

“Winter weather consistently causes serious problems in the UK, but our research shows that drivers are still being complacent. Winter has a massive impact on road safety, and it’s not just snow that causes problems — ice and fog also make the roads more dangerous.”

Maxine Tighe, Head of Motor Claims at AXA Insurance

So consider this your official warning; winter is coming.

With winter fast approaching, it’s essential to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to look after your car. These winter car care tips below will help you prepare for the colder months ahead…

5 Essential Winter Checks for Your Car:

1. Brakes

The average braking distance for a car driving at 30 mph is 14 metres. This is doubled in wet conditions, and can be up to 10 times further when driving in snow.

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Get your brakes checked and make sure they’re in good working condition.

2. Battery

During the colder months you tend to put more pressure on your battery through extended use of heaters, wipers and lights. Check your battery’s terminals are secure and free from corrosion.

“Cold temperatures affect the chemical process inside the battery that produces and stores electricity, effectively slowing it down and reducing the battery’s ability to hold the charge. Older, weaker batteries will typically already have reduced performance and cold temperatures will often drastically reduce this further, to the point where the battery will discharge or go flat very quickly.” – RAC

Top Tip: If your battery is more than five years old, or has shown signs of struggling to start the car, get it replaced.

3. Radiator

Radiator fluid acts as a coolant during summer, and as anti-freeze in the winter. You car’s radiator should contain a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze. Check your levels and ensure you have the right mix.

4. Lights & Visibility

Check all of your lights and replace any that are not working. Make sure they are clean. Tarnished lights can be brightened up with toothpaste.

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Now is also the time to check your wiper blades. If they do not clear the windscreen effectively in the rain (leaving large smears that obstruct your view), they won’t be effective at tackling snow.

5. Tyres (including your spare!)

The legal minimum tyre tread in the UK is 1.6 mm, but the AA recommend having a thicker tread of 2 – 3 mm in Winter, as this allows for better control in wet and icy conditions.

Changes in temperature can lead to decompression in your tyres, so be sure to check them regularly.

Tips for Defrosting Your Car

Frozen Car

    Image courtesy of Erik via Flickr

    6. Remove all loose snow and/or ice

    Did you know it’s an actually an offence to drive with loose ice and snow still on your car? That pile of snow on your roof could easily slip and block your view, causing an accident.

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    It is also an offence to drive with an obscured registration plate, so be sure to remove all snow from your plates too.

    7. Check your exhaust pipe

    Check your exhaust pipe isn’t blocked with snow or ice. This makes it harder for the car to start and could cause toxic fumes to leak into the interior of the car.

    8. Unfreeze car locks and doors

    If your lock is frozen, use a lighter for 15 seconds to heat up your key before you insert it into the lock.

    Open frozen doors by using lukewarm (not hot) water to melt the ice.

    9. Defrosting windows

    Turn on the defrost option and set it to the highest heat on a low speed. (Higher speeds actually fan our colder air.) Once the ice begins to melt, use an ice scraper to remove the ice. You can use a de-icer to speed up the process.

    NEVER use hot water to melt ice on your windows. This can cause the glass to shatter.

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    10. Defogging windows

    To defog your car’s windows you need to do two things:

    • Increase the temperature of the glass
    • Reduce the water content of the air

    The easiest and quickest way to do this is to open a window, select the defog/demist function and place on high heat, and turn on the AC (the AC also serves as a dehumidifier).

    Speed up defrosting the night before…

    • Stop doors freezing shut by applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the rubber door seals.
    • A squirt of WD-40 in locks will help stop them for freezing.
    • Raise your wipers off the windscreen to prevent them from freezing and sticking to your window.
    • Fill a stocking or sock with cat litter to prevent foggy windows. This works by absorbing excess moisture in the air.
    • Use a car cover.
    • Keep an eye on where the sun rises in the morning. Park your car to face the sun for natural defrosting!

    Winter Car Essentials

    With experience in getting stuck in winter traffic with no water, blanket or supplies, Gary Hodder from BestCarFinder can’t emphasise enough the importance of being prepared.

    Buy a Winter Emergency Kit (or create your own) which contains these essentials:

    • Ice scraper
    • Anti-freeze
    • Thermal blankets (sleeping bags also work well)
    • Snow shovel
    • Torch (and extra batteries)
    • Jump leads and tow rope
    • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
    • Thermos flask with hot water
    • High visibility jacket
    • Phone (and in-car phone charger)
    • Reflective safety triangle
    • Extra set of clothes
    • First aid kit

    It may seem like a lot, but if you happen to break down or have to pull over in a snow storm, you’ll be thankful for these items!

    Featured photo credit: First snow of winter via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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