Keep Your Vehicle In Check To Ensure Your Safety While Driving In Winter
Temperatures are dropping across South Africa, signaling that winter has arrived. While most people will ensure they are protected from the cold, they forget about their vehicles.
These valuable assets also need some care against the elements at this time of year so that you can reach your destination safely.
A few tips to consider to keep you safe while driving during the bitterly cold winter months in South Africa:
Car batteries tend to give more problems during winter because of the increased amps are drawn by the starter to crank a cold engine. The last thing you want on a frosty winter's day is to be stuck
with a flat battery!
Here are a few winter checks to ensure your car battery is in good working condition.
Check the water (electrolyte) level to make sure it's not too low (it must cover the fluid plates). If necessary, top it up with distilled water. Avoid overfilling and clean any spillage.
Keep your car battery clean by wiping the terminals with warm (not hot) soapy water and remove any acid or dirt build-up, which could cause the battery to self-discharge quicker.
Alternator belts. Check the belts for fraying or cracking. A loose alternator belt is a common cause of battery failure.
Always ensure your tyres are in a good condition, and not worn down. Worn tyres are extremely dangerous in all conditions, but this danger can be multiplied in wet, snowy, and icy weather. Check that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure according to the manufacturer's guidelines, as this will ensure optimal road holding and tyre life.
It is always a good idea to maintain your vehicle's tyres, not only because the law requires it and you may face stiff penalties if you are stopped and your tyres are found to be unroadworthy, but also to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.
As the days get shorter, and the nights get longer, many motorists on their work commute drive in darkness. You need to ensure that your car's headlights are working properly and that you always switch the headlights off when you reach your destination.
If your car is parked outside overnight, you may have a layer of frost on the windscreen when it gets really cold. Don't use warm water to clean this layer, as your windscreen may crack.
Avoid using the windscreen sprayers when driving in cold conditions as the water from the reservoir will freeze onto the windscreen, and the wipers will not be able to clear the ice.
Importantly, check the condition of your wiper blades and replace them if needed, and avoid cleaning mud and soil from the windscreen with the wipers as these can scratch the glass.
TIP: If possible, park your car undercover at night to ensure your windscreen remains clear the next morning.
By keeping your battery, tyres, windscreen and wipers in working condition, you and your car should have no worries travelling together this winter, ensuring your safety on the roads!