The RAC have stated that they would rather stop their members breaking down in the first place than have them suffer the inconvenience of being stuck at the side of the road.
As such, they have devised a list of things to look out for to help prevent the more avoidable breakdowns.
Here are their top ten things to look out for, from things you may notice while you’re driving to general checks to carry out before you set off.
1. Remember your ‘FORCES’
Remember this acronym and you’ll go a long way to ensuring your car is ready for any drive in wintry conditions:
F is for FUEL – Ensure you have enough fuel for your journey. Cars use more fuel in heavy traffic and start/stop conditions which can be regular occurrences, especially in wintry weather
O is for OIL – To avoid engine damage and a potential breakdown, remember to check your oil level and top up when necessary
R is for RUBBER – Your tyres can tell you a lot about how your car is performing. If they aren’t wearing evenly, then tyre pressures may be mismatched or there could be a fault with the steering.
Check that all four tyres have at least 3mm of tread and are inflated to the correct pressure – this is vital to maintaining a good grip in wet and even icy conditions.
For everything you need to know about how to check your tyres, you can read how to check your tyres advice complete with a short video.
Also, take a look at your wiper blades to ensure they’re clearing the screen effectively and that the rubber has not perished
C is for COOLANT – Make sure it’s topped up to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels and it contains the right amount of anti-freeze
E is for ELECTRICS – Check all of your lights are working correctly including your indicators, brake lights and fog lights – and replace any faulty bulbs or blown fuses
S is for SCREENWASH – Top-up your windscreen washer fluid by using a good quality screenwash which is effective down to cold temperatures. Remember that colder conditions demand a more concentrated solution
2. Spongy brakes
The brakes are the most important safety feature of any car, so it’s important to keep an eye on wear rates – especially when grip could be at its lowest in winter.
Unusual grumbling noises, a car pulling to one side or a ‘long’ spongy brake pedal could point towards a problem with the braking system; get things checked out by a qualified mechanic if you’re not sure.
3. Flaring engine revs
Flaring engine revs under hard acceleration are the main indicator that your vehicle’s clutch is slipping.
If this is the case then, unfortunately, there’s no cheap fix – the clutch will have to be replaced.
DO NOT leave it as doing so will damage your flywheel and in turn, your engine – contact a reputable garage as quickly as possible.
4. Intermittent knocking sound?
An intermittent knocking or droning sound – especially when going around corners – could indicate a worn wheel bearing.
If left unchecked this could eventually cause expensive damage to the hub assembly and suspension.
A professional mechanic will have all the tools to replace the offending item.
Please click here for the rest of the RAC tips.
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