Winter is coming! Top tips to keep your car running in the colder months

Dec 9, 2014
Winter is coming! Top tips to keep your car running in the colder months 1

Cold, wet, and windy – sadly, the British winter is here again!

In addition to creating hazardous driving conditions, cold weather can also put some serious strain on your vehicle, which is why it’s so important to be prepared.

Batten down the hatches, and ensure you’re ready for the worst of the winter weather with our top tips, designed to keep you on the road, and ensure you’re not left stranded now the cold weather has set in.

Fit for service

A large number of winter problems are caused by neglect, and a lot of engine and turbocharger troubles can be avoided simply by keeping your car regularly serviced.

Dig out your handbook, check the service intervals, and if you’re overdue, get your car booked in as soon as possible.

All about the oil

We know, we go on a lot about oil on this blog, but it’s for a good reason. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine and turbo, and in winter, it’s even more important!

As the temperature drops, oil gets thicker – but it needs to remain thin enough to provide effective lubrication, which means you need to choose the right oil for your vehicle.

Throughout the winter months, check your engine’s oil level regularly, and keep it topped up with high quality oil that meets the API specifications of your engine (check online or in your handbook to make sure you get the right oil). For extra security, make sure you always take some oil with you on every journey.

If you’re having a service, then make sure they replace the filter and change the oil – this will help to ensure that no contaminants can get into your engine/turbocharger and cause damage.


Winter tyres can be a great investment, because they don’t just grip the road better in cold, icy and snowy conditions, they will also last longer than ordinary tyres during the colder months, making them a good long term investment (just make sure you change them when the weather improves!).

Whether or not you choose to have winter tyres fitted, it’s vital that you’ve got enough tread left on your tyres during the cold and wet weather. As a tyre’s tread wears down, grip is reduces, along with it’s ability to disperse water from the road. In wet conditions, this can lead to aquaplaning, where the car loses contact with the road surface, leading to complete loss of control over your vehicle.

UK law requires you to have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread (or face a fine of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points per tyre!) and there’s a quick and easy way to check whether yours are legal, known as the 20p test.

To do this, take a 20p coin, and place it into the main grooves in your tyre. If the outer band of the coin is covered by the tread, then you’re legal, but if it’s visible, then there’s a strong possibility that it’s dangerously low – so take it to a professional to get it checked.

As a final point, make sure that you check your tyre pressures regularly to ensure they’re at the correct level.

Further information about checking your tyres for winter can be found on this excellent post over at Automotive Blog.

Other checks


It isn’t just oil you’ll need to check – ensure that your brake fluid and water levels are right, and that your radiator has been topped up with anti-freeze.


Winter conditions put a lot more strain on your battery – you’ll be using the heater, lights and windscreen wipers a lot more than in the summer months. Check your battery is charged and up to the task - they generally last around 5 years, so it may be worth buying a new one if yours is getting on a bit.


Topping up your windscreen washers with a stronger mix of anti-freeze fluid will help to ensure your washer fluid doesn’t freeze, so you’re not left blinded by filthy windows when the temperatures drop.

Get covered

Break down without some kind of cover in place, and it will cost you a fortune – which is why breakdown cover is invaluable at this time of year. There are a few options out there, so shop around until you find the best deal.

How we can help

Follow these tips, and hopefully, you’ll enjoy trouble-free motoring all winter long. However, if your turbocharger succumbs to the winter weather this year, then we’re here to help.

At AET, we provide expert turbocharger repairs and replacements on all kinds of passenger and commercial vehicles, and we pride ourselves on delivering a professional, high quality and competitively-priced service.

Get in touch with our expert team today on 01924894171 or email

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