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The Rivervale Guide to Getting Your Car Winter Ready!

The Rivervale Guide to Getting Your Car Winter Ready!

We can’t deny it any longer, winter really is here.  Hot chocolates by the fire in our onesies may keep us happy for the season, but spare a thought for your car left out in the cold.  Here are Rivervale Leasings's top tips to prevent your car suffering from the winter blues this year.

Here are a few things you will want to get a professional to help you out with.


Before you start tinkering under the bonnet yourself, when was your last service?  If it’s overdue then now would be the time to get it done.  To save a few pennies, search your local garages for offers on winter car checks that often appear this time of year.  Your car hates the cold as much as you do!  Problems that may cause a breakdown and keep you off the road could potentially be spotted before you are left dialling the number of your breakdown service!


The cold months make it a miserable time for your car battery.  It is facing a three pronged attack; 1. Power output drops.  2. The battery will not recharge as quickly, as the ability to accept a charge reduces.  3. We want more from it!  Lights, heaters wipers and heated seats all increase demand placed on your battery.  It’s no surprise then that the AA report battery faults as the most common cause of breakdown.  Asking your garage to check can help you avoid a flat battery disaster.

You could perform these checks yourself, the Rivervale team will show you how!


With water, ice and even snow on the roads it has never been more important to check your tyres are in good condition.  If your tyres are worn it will affect both the steering and the braking.  Although the legal minimum for tyre tread is 1.6mm, we recommend a healthier tread of 3mm to give yourself the best grip possible on the road during the winter season.

It can be tricky to check tyre tread.  If you are in a muddle with rulers or 20p’s why not treat yourself to a tyre tread depth gauge for under £5?  Or if you really want a treat splash, out go for a laser tyre tread depth gauge!

If you cover many miles over the winter months, your car may really appreciate you changing to winter tyres.  Our blog ‘Do I Need Winter Tyres’ may help you decide if they are the best option for you.


There is a lot less daylight around throughout the winter months.  Many of us drive to work in the dark and back home in the dark.  This means your car lights will be an important part of every journey.  If you are allergic to washing your car, now is the time to put your own feelings aside and give all your lights a good scrub!  While you are there you can check all your lights are working and replace any bulbs if necessary.

Windscreen and Wipers 

We all know the British weather is wet and windy.  This is bad news for your windscreen.  The possibility of chips is high and they will only grow in the colder weather.  Make sure you check for chips and get them fixed before they become a problem. 

Check your wipers are in good working order.  Run your fingers along the blades to check for tears that will reduce the efficiency of the blade and not fully clear your windscreen.


This is your cars best friend in the icy months.  Opt for a screen wash with antifreeze already in the mix and make sure your coolant is a 50:50 mix of water and antifreeze.

Most people simply top up their engine coolant with water over the summer months.  In the winter this means your engine coolant could freeze, leaving your car open to the possibility of over-heating.  To avoid the massive bill this would cause you, all you need is a few minutes of your time to add that all important antifreeze.

If you are not confident to make these checks make sure you consult a mechanic.


Breakdown Kit 

We never think it will be us who will be left stranded on the motorway for hours, but it happens, so it’s best to be prepared.  Once you have packed a breakdown kit, just put it in the boot of your car and it will be there ready and waiting if you need it!

We recommend the following in your breakdown kit; shovel, torch, blanket, screen wash, warning triangle and hi-vis vest.  It’s also really important to make sure you have a fully charged mobile with you, a scraper and de-icer as well as a few food and drink supplies if you are travelling far.


Rivervale’s best Winter Car Hacks

  • Doors frozen shut can be avoided by smearing a small amount of Vaseline along the door seals!
  • Stuck in the snow?  Take your car mats out and position them under the driving wheels to provide a bit more traction to help you get back on your way!   
  • WD40 is the perfect fix for a frozen lock!

If you have any Winter Car Hacks make sure you let us know!

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Car related news
11 November 2015
Written by Natalie Faughy
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