Winter is well and truly here with snow covering much of the UK. Now is not the time to panic however, because by following a few simple tips you can avoid costly repairs to your car and keep it on the road.

The best bit of advice is to take out breakdown cover so that if the worst happens and you suffer an accident or breakdown in winter, you can call for help.

To help drivers cope with snow, ice and rain we've gathered together some key things you should be paying attention to when it comes to winter car care.


This is a simple bit of advice; if you cannot see what is in front of you then you cannot drive your car safely. This is why the UK's drivers spend those cold winter mornings hacking ice and snow off their windscreens.

De-icer is the most effective way of clearing snow and ice from a windscreen but this can be helped with the use of a scraper as well.

Drivers can also use air conditioning to help with the demisting - but remember to not leave the car unattended. There has been a rise in the number of people stealing cars after owners have left them to warm up and the process even has a name - frosting.

Before any of this it is important to ensure windscreen wash is topped up so that you can use it to clean the windscreen on the move.

You should also consider replacing your wiper blades if they are in poor condition. This is a relatively inexpensive task but it could be crucial to avoiding visibility.

Remove snow

Did you know it is actually an offence to drive with snow on the roof of the vehicle? This is because snow could become dislodged while the driver is on the road and fall onto the windscreen or back window.

This can potentially be dangerous because it reduces visibility on the road and police are such to clamp down on it. This will usually result in a warning but it could also mean a fine for the driver.

Winter maintenance Winter maintenance


Anti-freeze, as the name suggests, prevents a car's engine and radiators freezing in colder weather. If anti-freeze levels are low it could cause expensive damage to the car's engine.

This is usually one of the most expensive repair costs a driver will face and to prevent it a driver simply has to ensure anti-freeze levels are topped up with the correct fluid - you can read the car's manual or visit your nearest mechanic or dealership to find out which is the correct one for your car.

Oil checks

Oil is another important factor in keeping an engine in good condition. If the oil level is low it can cause extensive damage to an engine not matter what the weather.

Therefore it is important to keep track of oil levels by using the dipstick to see if the level sits below the maximum for minimum.


Battery failure is one of the main causes of winter breakdowns in the UK. Cold weather can have a big effect on a battery, particularly on older car batteries.

In total about one third of all winter breakdown call-outs are because of a flat battery. To avoid this drivers should try to avoid using energy-sapping features such as heaters and blowers (although this is easier said than done when temperatures plummet).

It is also important to not leave your car unused for long periods during the winter months as this can lead to the battery becoming flat.

Drivers are advised car batteries generally last around five years so it is important to get yours checked or even replaced in preparation for colder weather.

Winter maintenance Winter maintenance


Tyres are probably the most important safety aspect of a car on the move because they are the only point of contact the car has with the road.

Therefore they must be up to the task of providing traction in even the iciest conditions. To do this the tyres must have legal tread depth of 1.6mm - but 3mm is recommended for maximum effectiveness - and should not be worn, torn or damaged in any way.

Finally, tyres should have the correct pressure in order to provide the most stability in wintery conditions. Check your car's manual to see what the optimum tyre pressure is and ensure all four wheels have the same level before setting out.