Having no windscreen washer fluid in your car could cost you £100

With bad weather causing over a fifth (22%) of UK road accidents winter is rightly known as a challenging time to drive.

However, by preparing your car for the change in seasons, you can reduce the chance of falling prey to the foul weather, as well as getting hit with unnecessary fines.

Euro Car Parts have revealed five essential car maintenance tasks that should be completed before winter.

1.Change your engine oil

Keeping your engine oil topped up is important to ensure the smooth running of the car. Engine oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle, and acts as a lubricant to ensure that the moving parts work seamlessly.

In cold weather, conventional engine oils can begin to lose their ability to flow freely, which can make it harder to start the car, so it’s a good idea to change the oils more often than usual. You should also make sure to replace to oil filter at the same time, to avoid contamination of the new oil with debris from the old filter.

When replacing the oil, you should look for a product which has a viscosity of 5W-30, as this will flow easier in the cold weather. An alternative option is to replace the conventional oil with a synthetic alternative, which is not affected by cold weather, and does not lose its ability to flow in lower temperatures. Another benefit is that synthetic oils do not require changing as often.

2.Check your battery

Batteries can lose their charge over time and cold weather in particular can take a toll on their performance. This makes it more difficult for the engine to turn over and means that the car may be down on power. This will be made worse if you use the heater and other electrical components, as these put additional strain on the battery.

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Therefore, it’s a good idea to get the battery tested before the winter months and ensure that it’s fully charged. You can do this yourself using a battery tester, or alternatively you can visit your local garage.

This is especially important for this winter, as due to lockdown and travel restrictions, batteries may not have been used as often and might not be performing at their best.

3.Top up your fluids

It’s important to check your washer fluid levels going into the winter and make sure they are consistently topped up.

It’s a legal offence to drive with no washer fluid, and if you’re caught without any, or if you’re in an accident deemed to be caused by restricted vision, then you could be charged with careless driving and receive a fine of £100. From a practical perspective, winter driving can often cause dirt and grit to cover the windscreen, which can restrict your visibility if not cleaned.

Topping up your washer fluid is very simple. Just open your bonnet and fill the container with screen wash. It can also be a good idea to add a small amount of de-icer to the liquid, which will help you to deal with ice on the windscreen.

4.Test your lights

Driving with faulty lights is a serious issue that could result in a £100 fine, so motorists should always be in the habit of checking them. Due to the poor weather and darker nights, this is especially important during the winter months.

You should regularly check that your headlights, brake lights and fog lights are working, which can be done easily by testing them whilst your car is running at home. Similarly, if you notice when driving that your headlights appear to be dim and aren’t working as well as they should be, this could be a sign that they’re reaching the end of their life and need replacing.

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Lights can be replaced easily at home, or at a garage if you’re not comfortable changing them yourself. If you want to improve your visibility when driving, then upgrading to xenon bulbs will increase the brightness and life of your headlights.

5.Stock up your car

It’s a good idea to make sure that your car contains everything you might need when driving in the winter.

Planning for the worst is good practice to ensure you’re never caught out. Your car should always contain de-icer and an ice scraper, as well as a cloth to make sure that your visibility is never restricted. You should also carry an old section of carpet, which can be used to improve traction if you ever get stuck in mud.

Storing a blanket, a coat and some snacks is also a good idea in case you find yourself unable to continue your journey due to poor weather conditions.

Helen Robinson, Corporate Communications Director for Euro Car Parts, said: “Driving during the winter months can be hazardous, so it’s important that motorists thoroughly prepare their car to ensure they can continue driving safely.

“The good news is that these preparations are very simple and can be completed by motorists themselves in a short space of time. We hope that this advice helps drivers across the country prepare their vehicles to make driving this winter a little bit safer.”

For more information about the signs that your engine oil needs to be changed, visit: https://www.eurocarparts.com/blog/five-signs-you-need-to-change-your-engine-oil

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If you do have any issues or concerns when completing checks on your own car, you should contact your local garage.