How to Avoid a Winter Breakdown

Written by tony, November 23, 2018


A breakdown at any time of year is not a great experience, but winter is probably the worst time, especially in the pre-Christmas rush, getting to shops, visiting family etc..  Getting stuck in the cold weather is not something anyone wants, and since a breakdown could happen anywhere, there’s no knowing how long you may be waiting for help.

So what can you do to avoid this?

 

Conserve Your Battery

The number 1 cause of winter breakdowns

Numerous studies show that car battery failure is the most common cause of winter breakdowns.  Winter weather can affect the chemical reaction which makes your battery work.  It can also thicken the engine oil, which means the battery has to work harder.

Beyond checking the condition, being aware of the age of the battery can help.  A typical battery should last between 4-6 years, however frequent short trips can reduce this lifespan.

It’s good to be mindful of your electrics in winter, frequent short trips and constant heating/radio is not a good combination.

An easy way to avoid a drained battery is to be aware of your lights.  Leaving them on all night is a surefire way towards trouble!

Pro tip – You can get hold of some jump cables for around £12 on Amazon, if you do breakdown due to your battery, someone nearby may be able to jump start you.

 

Inflate your tires

Breaking down from a flat tyre increases by 36% in winter

Did you know that you are more likely to breakdown due to a flat tyre in winter?  This is due to the fact that air becomes denser, which can lower the pressure of your tyres.  Remember to keep them inflated to your manufacturer specifications every 2 weeks.

 

Keep more tire depth

Opt for a minimum of 3mm instead of the legal 1.6mm

Tire depth becomes more important in winter due to the risk of skidding on wet roads.  More depth means more traction.  Although the legal minimum is 1.6mm, a depth of 3mm or more will help to dispense more water and reduce your risk of skidding.

 

Watch your wipers

Non starts are 18% more likely in winter

You might be wondering what wiper blades have to do with starting your car.  This is down to two things: Ice and automatic wipers.  If they get stuck to your windscreen and keep trying to move, you can be faced with a blown fuse.

 

Keep topped up

Fuel economy decreases significantly in winter

It’s not just important to keep enough fuel in case you get stuck on a long-cold winter’s journey.  Winter weather affects your fuel economy in many ways:

  • The engine takes longer to reach it’s efficient operating temperature.
  • Cold, dense air increases drag.
  • Your engine oil thickens and can cause more friction in the engine and transmission. This means you can burn more fuel to keep them both turning.

 

Remember if you do break down and you’re in the Kent area, you can call on Armstrong Paint Specialists as your experienced, friendly breakdown recovery service.

 

Statistics from the AA