Reduce Your Chances of a Cold Weather Breakdown
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Reduce Your Chances of a Cold Weather Breakdown

Posted in Tips On By Connor Clayton

Performing some simple checks & actions before you set off can drastically reduce your chances of suffering a cold weather breakdown!

Performing some simple checks & actions before you set off can drastically reduce your chances of suffering a cold weather breakdown!

Mechanical issues can escalate as temperatures start to drop, and with the inevitable appearance of snow & ice on the cards, the likelihood of a problem occurring is considerable. It's well worth your time to ensure you can carry out the right checks on your vehicle.

The Acronym 'FORCES' is useful for the regular DIY checks you should be carrying our throughout the winter and especially since all signs are pointing towards another icy blast.

Fuel, Oil, Rubber, Coolant, Electrics, Screen wash


It may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many people run out of fuel. With temperatures as low as expected you really don’t want get stranded.


An engine low on oil can cause a simple breakdown or lead to catastrophic engine damage at worst.  You should check your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your car's dipstick and top up if necessary. 

For the type of oil you need to use, you should refer to your owner’s handbook or speak to your local dealer. 


You'll need to check your tyres and your wiper blades before you set off.

Check your tyres for general wear and tear racks, splits of bulges, and more importantly, tread depth.

Although the minimum tread level is 1.6mm, during winter it’s advisable to have 3mm of tread on your tyres to help with traction and grip.

Your tyres are your car’s only connection to the road and it is vital that they are in good condition and correctly inflated for good traction and grip.

READ MORE: Check Your Tyre Tread Depth With a 20p Coin

Next check your wiper blades. They are not everlasting and will need replacing from time to time so check them for splits and cracks.

Check whether they are effective at clearing your screen and replace as necessary.

Wiper blades can get frozen to the windscreen – if is freezing or you have plenty of snow – clear your windscreen and ensure that they will lift off the screen before switching them on.


Check your car’s coolant level. The last thing you need is a frozen engine or for your car to overheat.

Although it’s a sealed system and shouldn’t need to be topped up, you should always double check, especially before a long journey.

Check your coolant levels when the engine is cold and look in your handbook for the correct coolant and mix to use should you need to top it up.


Check your lights – they are essential for you to see and be seen.

It’s vitally important to make sure not only that you can see where you’re going but also that other drivers can see you, Walk round your car and make sure all lights are working and that they are free from dirt and grime.


Check your screen wash level and top up with a quality screen wash additive or pre-mix which is effective down to at least -15 degrees Celsius.

There’s more muck and dirt on the roads during the winter, as well as salt, so it’s important to make sure you can keep your windscreen clean. And remember to keep checking and topping up the level over the coming days.

Our patrols are often called out to motorists whose screen wash has completely frozen in the tank – so it is vital that you remember to use quality additive. Remember the wind-chill factor can send the temperature to below 20 degrees Celsius.