As the sunny days draw to a close and Britain settles in for wind, rain and generally miserable conditions, you may start wondering how you’re supposed to protect your car from the impending cold snap. From rust protection to winter tyres we’ve got it all covered below, so read on to find out just how to keep your car safe during the cold winter months.
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How to keep a car from rusting over winter
It may seem like an over-cautious solution, but one of the easiest ways to ensure that your car doesn’t rust over the winter is to simply not drive it. Keeping your car tucked away and safe over the winter, with the relevant protection (which we’ll go into later) means the chances of the winter causing rust issues are greatly reduced.
One thing you’ll want to make sure you do before you hide your car away, or if you’re going to be driving it regularly, is to ensure it remains as clean as possible during this period. Now, obviously, the roads are going to be dirty with the typical British weather washing all sorts of mud and dirt onto the roads, and that’s before the council comes along and adds its grit and salt combination. Regularly cleaning your car, with a quality solution, guarantees that the salt and grime will be washed off the car and away from your bodywork.
Likewise, you’ll want to ensure that any paint blemishes or exposed metalwork is fixed and a wash and wax coat is applied before the cold snap hits. Once the weather turns, moisture is going to find its way into everything you missed, and before you know it, the red rash will start to plague your car and you’ll have a hefty repair bill awaiting you in the spring. Another wash at the start of spring will also help keep your car in the best of conditions.
How to store a car in a garage over winter
If you’re lucky enough to have a car that you don’t want to take out in anything other than perfect conditions, then chances are you’ll have a garage to store it in, too. If you are going to be putting a car into a state of hibernation over the winter, then you’re going to want to make sure you’re putting it down safely and securely, with no risk of further damage.
Before the car is locked up for winter, make sure you’ve filled up with the relevant fluids, such as fuel, antifreeze and oil, and also make sure that your tyres are correct. If the car is being stored for months, it may be worth raising it up to avoid any potential flat spots on the tyres. If you have wheel chocks, use these instead of the handbrake, as the latter could cause the brake pads and disc to fuse over the winter, meaning you’ll be going nowhere once the weather improves, no matter how much you want to.
As above, you’re going to want to give it a thoroughly good clean before you put your car to bed for the winter to avoid any unwanted issues – and don’t forget to give the interior a good going over, too. The last thing you’re going to want to do when you get back into your car after a few months is find a half empty bottle of fizzy pop that’s growing its own ecosystem or a crumpled up fast food wrapper in the passenger footwell. Finally, invest in a good car cover, as this will protect your car from the ambient temperatures (or if you’ve not got a garage, from any weather the world throws at you).
How often should I drive or start my car over winter
Expert advice is that a car should be driven every two to three weeks to avoid any problems from arising. Of course, if you’ve decided to SORN your car over the winter then driving isn’t going to be an option, unless you have private land, so make sure that you run the engine for at least 15 minutes every week or two to ensure you’re not caught out with unwanted technical gremlins.
How often should you wash your car in winter
We all know how grubby cars can get in the winter – you’ve got predominantly wet roads throwing up the traditional grime, but now it’s mixed in with leaves from the trees and also salt and grit being laid to keep the road surfaces as grippy as possible. As a result, to keep your cars in the best condition possible, you should try to give them a wash every couple of weeks. If there is salt on the roads then the need to wash your car is greater, as prolonged exposure to the sodium-based substance is not ideal.
How to dry a car interior in winter
Your car’s air conditioning system may well be your saviour in the hotter summer temperatures, but it can also be a big help to you in the winter, too. By turning the temperature gauge up, it can be instrumental in helping you to dry out any wet seats or interior fabrics that have got wet through the rain entering as you load up the back – or maybe you’ve been caught out in a snowstorm and are covered in the white stuff. By cranking up the temps while the car is running (and leaving the window open a crack to allow the moisture to escape), you should have perfectly dry seats again within three to five hours.
How to store a car outside in winter
If you don’t have the luxury of having a garage to store your car in over the winter, then you might be wondering what’s the point of even attempting to store yours in the colder weather. Well, think again – while, of course, it would be easier if you had somewhere undercover to keep your car, you can indeed store yours outside if need be. Simply follow all of the advice above, and invest in a good quality car cover (bonus points if it’s one specifically fitted to your car). A well fitted car cover will keep the worst of the weather at bay and mean that when you do come to get in the driver’s seat again, everything should be just as you left it.
How to cover your car for winter
When covering your car, you need to make sure it is as tight as possible, and secured under the car. If the cover isn’t secured, then any heavy winds will see it blown halfway down the road and your car’s protective blanket is immediately rendered useless. You will also need to ensure that the cover is soft and stretchy, allowing any moisture to simply run off and onto the floor. A plastic tarp is not recommended as this could result in damage to your paintwork, making more problems than those you’re trying to avoid.
When should I put my winter tyres on
Keep an eye on that little temperature gauge on your car’s dashboard, as if it gets below 7°C then it’s advisable to switch over to winter tyres. Here in Britain, that’s about as much advice as you’ll get on the matter, but if you intend on going abroad for your holidays, you should bear in mind that many countries on the continent have laws in place that say you must be using winter tyres between November and April. If you do decide to fit winter tyres, you must change all four as having a mix of tyre types could have a negative impact on your car’s handling capabilities.
If you’re not sure your car is going to make it through the worst of the winter weather, or perhaps your van is ill prepared for a snowdrift, then you might be best off scrapping or selling as salvage, and that’s where Scrap Car Comparison comes in to help. With a nationwide network of experts at our beck and call, we can guarantee you the very best price in a quick and hassle-free manner, and as an added bonus we’ll even come and collect the car absolutely free of charge, from a location convenient to you, wherever you are.