You've probably found the warm clothing and footwear. The boat is long on land and garden gear in the house. But have you thought that the car needs to be looked after for it to take you faithfully through the winter months?
New and modern cars have long service intervals and should perhaps have the oil change so often that after every 15,000 or 30,000 mileage. That means, if you are running low, that in principle can have the same oil on the engine in a couple of years. It's recommended that those who don't drive much to change the engine oil twice a year to avoid condensation problems in the engine.
It is also important that you regularly check the oil level and refill if necessary so you are between the minimum and maximum mark on the dipstick. Check with your shop or service station which oil you have from before, and not mix different types of oil!
Also make sure you use synthetic or semi-synthetic oil in thickness 5W-40 or equivalent in the winter months. Thick oil can cause starting problems on cold days and contribute to increased wear and tear on the engine.
Heater / auxiliary heating
Some have probably equipped their car with the heater and / or interior heater. These come in different types and are usually powered electrically or on the vehicle's fuel, gasoline or diesel. Make sure the equipment is working properly before winter set in.. If an electric heater does it's job properly the engine should be warm within 2-3 hours. Therefore, use a timer that starts warming a couple of hours before the car will be used.
Please note that petrol / diesel heaters of the type Webasto or similar uses the vehicle's battery for operation of the fan that heats the passenger compartment, even if the heat generated from the car's fuel. On especially cold days, these heaters are not used over a long time as this can cause a flat battery so that you can not start the car - then it's not so nice to have the passenger compartment warm and the windows fog-free.
On cold days has decreased battery capacity.
If you're using an old type battery then check the fluid level the next time you visit the petrol station, and make possible for refilling. Normal life of a battery is 4-5 years and the capacity will gradually decrease throughout this period. Make sure the battery poles are clean, and has good contact from the battery to the alternator and starter motor. Insert the poles with acid-free grease such as Vaseline.
Keep a battery charger in the garage and put a set of jumper cables in your car. That way you can get help from other Astra drivers in a difficult situation, or even act as a rescuing angel for friends or neighbors in need.
Old jumper cables without a surge protector can kill the electronics in newer cars that are packed with advanced equipment!!
These cables are easy to recognize because they have a small box mounted to them.
On cold days, and especially after the abrupt temperature changes, you may experience the doors are frozen. You can avoid this if you insert the rubber with silicone grease which can be found at gas stations or at your dealership. This is particularly important when the car is washed in winter - make first to dry thoroughly around doorways before you put on silicone grease on the door rubber.
Dirty windows provide light fog on cold days. Therefore, make sure a proper cleaning of the car's interior and windows before winter. Windows are to be cleaned with either a special window cleaner or the window cleaner you got at home that you use to clean the windows on your house. Be particularly careful to wipe the windows thoroughly after you've washed them in the winter.
If the vehicle parked outdoors in winter, it is a common experience that the door locks freezing so that you can not insert the key. This occurs as a result of moisture in the cylinder and can be avoided by regular use of a lock spray or using lock oil before it gets colder. Buy a couple of containers with lock oil that you store in the garage, and one to you keep in your pocket. When washing the car in the winter you should cover up the keyhole with a tape or something equally, and remember to spray lock oil in all the car's locks afterwards.
If you have used water or soapy water in the washer tank in the summer, be sure to replace the washer fluid that can withstand a minimum of 15 degrees celcius below zero before winter set in.. Using the wrong fluid can cause serious damage to the pump and hoses.
If you choose studded or non-studded winter tires depends on what type of conditions you will be driving on. Studded tires are best on ice while the friction is more suited and provides increased comfort on the salted asphalt roads.
Mandatory tread depth for winter tires in Norway is 3mm, this may be different in the UK, but it's recommended a minimum depth of 5mm. Check that the tires have a regular wear and the tire wall are intact. If you were sloppy with the tires wash earlier this year, before the tires were stowed away in the spring, it is important that you do this now. Also make sure to remove the pebbles that stuck in the pattern. Use a degreaser to clean the tires before you wash them with mild soap and water. Before the tires are mounted, they shall have a dry surface for the ultimate grip. Wash the tires and remove the pebbles during the winter to maintain their grip on the ability of snow and ice.
Use of the heater / air conditioning
When you get into a cold car, you will often find that the formation of fog on the windows after a few minutes drive. When you need to sweep away snow or scraping ice, you should start your car's engine and put the fan at full strength against the window before scraping ice and removing snow. Be sure to remove ice and snow from all windows, lights and, not least, from the air intake to make sure that the heater is operating properly. Sweep the snow from the roof, otherwise it will be back whenever you start driving. Get into the car and wait with driving until you have a clear view through the windows. Many accidents occur in winter because of poor visibility due to fog, snow and ice on the windows.
On days with dense snow, ice patches may form on windshield wipers. This avoided by aligning cool, limit air against windscreen while setting the heater to the floor. On cars with automatic climate control, you should turn off the automatic and set the heater to the floor.
Keep your distance
Many collisions occur because of the small distance between the cars in traffic. You should be extra aware when driving on icy winter roads. Please note that the car in front of you can drive on tires that is more suited for the specific substrate and therefore he can have significantly shorter braking distance than you have. In general, the winter tires have significantly longer braking distance than summer tires, both those with and those without studs.
Note also that others need extra braking distance when you change lanes or approaching an intersection, so be sure to make you give signals well before taking any actions. Run active, but not aggressively in the challenging conditions you are exposed to in the winter time. And remember that speed limits are purposes and that it is your responsibility to adjust the speed in the circumstances.