Cold Starters

Winter car repairs can be avoided just by taking a few simple precautions before the weather really turns ugly. The way you drive, too, can save you from breaking down and having to be towed to a garage. We take a look.


Firstly, when the cold, damp weather kicks in you’re likely to have starting problems which can flatten your battery and catch you out (especially in an old car). Why not buy a cheap battery charger and give your battery a nice long charge over night – to keep it strong and full of oomph when you need it.

Join up with the RAC or AA. If you do have problems or worse still breakdown, your membership will allow you to call out one of their breakdown specialists who usually get you going again – it’s a lot cheaper than calling out a breakdown truck to tow you to a garage as they can cost a fortune.

If you don’t do long journeys but only short ones, your heater and lights will be draining the battery, so every now and again, try to take your car on a longer journey which will keep the battery strong.

Are your tyres at the correct pressure? Most people forget to check tyres and as a rule, tend to run them a bit low. If that’s the case you’ll be using far more fuel than you need to – not to mention wearing your tyres out quicker. If you’re not sure, ask somebody – or a friendly tyre centre what pressure your tyres should be. A quick top up in the local garage with a bit of air will save you in the long run.

Check all your fluids – oil, coolant/water, screen wash, and brake fluid. These simple checks are only what any garage will do for you as a winter check up, so you may as well do it yourself and save the cost. It’s no problem and if you’re not sure, just ask someone who’s an experienced driver; they’re sure to help you.

Garages are full of cars that have broken down over winter, usually because the cold and damp gets into the electrics and fouls up the ignition system. One way to avoid this dampness doing its damage (and saving you a lot of time and trouble) is to purchase a good quality tarpaulin cover. It’s a bit of a pain draping it over your car each night, but it keeps the engine bay dry (and your windscreen nice and frost free). You’d be surprised how much your car will love you – and start and run much better when you need it most – early in the mornings.

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