Get Your Car Ready For Winter
Winter is a challenging time for your car. The harsh weather test the limits of your vehicle and your driving ability. With ice and snow turning usually safe roads into something more treacherous, ensuring your car is fully prepared for winter keeps gives you a better chance of traversing the tough terrain.
Across Scandinavia, laws dictate certain requirements on cars during the winter months. By following this Ryobi guide, you can get your car ready for winter.
Change Your Tyres
Winter driving across all Scandinavian countries requires specific tyres due to heavy snowfall, slush and ice on the roads. In Norway and Sweden, you are expected to fit winter tyres between December 1st and March 31st. Winter tyres are designed specifically for the season and are labelled “M+S” (M.S, M-S, M&S or Mud and Snow). Your tyres can be studded or non-studded; studded tyres can be used between October and April. If you’re caught in Norway and Sweden without winter tyres, you will be fined.
Denmark, Iceland and Finland don’t have laws requiring winter tyres but it’s strongly recommended.
To change your tyres easily, use an impact wrench which can loosen and tighten heavy duty fasteners efficiently, even if you’re caught in wintry conditions.
Check Your Lights
As visibility is hampered by the wintry conditions, it’s best to check your headlights are still in working order. If they’re a bit dim, you should replace the bulb to ensure you can see as best as possible in tough conditions. As it’s a legal requirement to have headlights on at all times, even during the day, it’s best to prepare your car lights for prolonged usage.
Keep Your Windscreen and Windows Clean
Your windows will get filthy during winter as the wind, rain and snow begin to take their toll. Regularly cleaning your windscreen and windows will help with visibility. We recommend using cleaner intended for car glass for the best results.
Smearing can be a problem, as the windscreen wipers spread dirt across it while in use. To avoid this, clean the edges of the wiper blades with a tissue that has been dipped in a screen wash additive. You can stop the wipers freezing on the screen by propping them up with cork slices when you park at night. Make sure you check your blades regularly and replace if they become ineffective - you can do this yourself or at a repair shop.
Antifreeze in Wiper Fluid
Wiper fluid also helps keep your windscreen clean, especially as more dirt and grime hit against it during winter. To protect your screen effectively, ensure antifreeze is in your wiper fluid. The antifreeze you use must be able to handle very cold temperatures. If you don’t, it could freeze and even crack your tank.
Check Under The Bonnet
Preparing everything under the hood for winter is vital for you car’s survival. Check the coolant reservoir and top it up with a mix of water and antifreeze. Your coolant (containing antifreeze) should be changed every two-to-three years. Your antifreeze concentration needs to be correct, especially if you’ve topped it up with water in the past. A garage will test this for you, unless you want to do it yourself.
After checking your coolant, take a look at the battery terminals to check they’re tight and not corroded. A flat battery is not what you want when driving in the middle of a snow storm. Don’t allow your battery to fail, replace it.
Give the whole engine area a quick check and use an area light to make sure you don’t miss any potential problems.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
If the worst comes to worst, you need to ensure your prepared for it. As it can be dangerous in winter to break down in the middle of nowhere, having an emergency kit will help you deal with the situation. Take the following with you in your boot or somewhere in your car:
Once your car is prepared, it’s up to you to keep safe on the road. With snow, slush and ice on the roads taking care is imperative for protecting yourself, your car and others from accidents. While driving, accelerate gradually, steer gently and brake with care.
Winter is coming, so get ready with Ryobi’s automotive range of tools and accessories.