How A Free Safety Check Can Help Minimise Breakdowns

With the latest spike in cold weather throughout the UK, it should come as no surprise that there are more accidents and breakdowns during the winter. One way to help minimise the risk is a FREE Winter Safety Check available at any of our Elite Garages. You’d be surprised how valuable this can be, not to mention the peace of mind knowing everything is safe and working efficiently.

With wintery conditions come lower temperatures, less visibility and highly unpredictable road conditions. Whether you’re new to driving or an experienced road user, being prepared is absolutely essential. You should be ready for anything in winter and that is where our FREE Safety Check comes in handy.

The Importance Of A Free Safety Check

As the RAC mentioned as well, the likelihood of accidents and breakdowns are significantly higher in winter motorists should perform a safety check. Whether you are driving to and from work or visiting the grandchildren over the weekend, you need to ensure your car is in optimal condition.

A comprehensive safety check from a reputable service centre can help identify any underlying issues you may not even be aware of. In many cases, these minor issue could cause real concerns at a later stage. These safety checks can help minimise your risk of breaking down and avoid potentially fatal issues on the road.

Safety checks form part of essential car maintenance and the value thereof should not be underestimated. A FREE Safety Check from Elite Garages will ensure that your vehicle is ready for the weather while keeping you, your family and other road users safe.

What Does A Free Safety Check Include?

A safety check involves looking at certain parts and the overall condition of your vehicle. If you know a little bit about cars you could do it yourself but where do you start? We suggest a visual inspection first which includes looking for visible leaks, checking the lights, indicators, mirrors, tyre condition, radiator and hoses.  As a guide the RACs  recommend using the acronym, FORCES when performing your own checks. This refers to Fuel, Oil, Rubber, Coolant, Electrics and Screenwash.

At Elite Garages, our FREE Safety Check from expert technicians include the following checks:

  • Coolant Level/Condition
  • Top Up Washer Bottle
  • Check Battery Condition
  • Fan Belt
  • Tyre Condition/Inflation
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Lights And Indicators
  • Check Exhaust
  • Windscreen Wipers And Blades
  • Visual Radiator & Heater Hose Check
  • Brake Fluid Boiling Point
  • Oil Level

Driving Tips For Winter

Car breakdowns are frustrating at any time but you certainly don’t want to be stranded in winter with dark, cold and wet conditions. Thankfully, there are good breakdown services you could contact but there are a few small things you can do to help prevent winter breakdowns.

Check Fuel and Oil Levels

It may seem silly but many people forget to check their fuel level. Before heading out on any journey, be sure you have enough fuel to avoid running out in the middle of nowhere.

In terms of oil, the RAC reports that one in three cars that they check have low oil levels. A low oil level can cause a breakdown or lead to serious and expensive engine damage. The oil level should be between the minimum and maximum mark on the car’s dipstick and top up if necessary. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to see the type of oil you need to use or speak to your local dealer.

Check The Coolant

When it comes to coolant, you need to ensure it’s always topped up as you don’t want a frozen engine or for your car to overheat. While it is a sealed system and shouldn’t need refilling, it’s best to always check, especially before a long journey. Coolant levels should be checked when the engine is cold and refer to your vehicle’s manual for the correct coolant and mix.

Tyre Tread And Overall Condition

Tyres are vital and probably more so in adverse weather conditions. It’s essential to check your tyres for general wear and tear like cracks, splits or bulges but more importantly, tyre tread depth. If you notice any tyre damage or low tread, it’s time to get new premium tyres fitted.

Although the minimum legal tread level is 1.6mm, during winter we recommend at least 3mm of tread to help with traction and grip. Don’t forget to check that you have the correct tyre pressure which should be in the owner’s manual.

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Check Windscreen Wipers

Wipers are another essential part of any vehicle and should be checked for splits or cracks and replaced when necessary. Wiper blades can actually freeze against the windscreen in icy, snowy conditions and that is not ideal.

During the colder winter months, especially, people can blow the fuse or damage the wiper motor if they are not careful. If you forcefully try to use the wipers when they are frozen to the windscreen, the damage is inevitable. Our recommendation is to remove the frost or ice from the windscreen. Make sure they can actually lift off the windscreen before switching them on.

Only use de-icer to free up your wipers when necessary but never hot water. You can also cover your windscreen with a blanket or an old sheet to keep the ice and snow at bay. Wrapping the wipers up in the sheet will help avoid them sticking to the windscreen.

Lights And Battery Check

It goes without saying that your lights are essential equipment, especially in wintery conditions. You need to check your lights and make sure they all work, including headlights, brakes, indicators, reverse lights and fog lamps if your car has it fitted.

Before embarking on any journey, walk around your car and make sure all the lights are working. Also remove any dirt, grime or snow to improve visibility as lights can get extremely dirty during the winter months.

Car batteries take additional strain during colder months and should always be well-maintained. If you can’t start your car and the engine struggles when turning the key, we recommend you get it checked immediately. If your car battery is older than four years and showing signs of trouble, it’s likely time to replace it. it could be heading toward the last stage of life.

Winter Preparedness: What To Keep In Your Car

If you do break down for whatever reason, try to pull over to a safe area away from heavy traffic. If there is no service station or car park, use the shoulder of the road when possible. Remain calm, put on your hazards and call a breakdown service.

In some cases, you may need to get out of the car to wait for assistance which means you need to be prepared. Here is a quick-fire list of essential items you should keep in your car.

  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing
  • A bottle of screenwash
  • Wellies or boots
  • High visibility vests or jackets for everyone in the car
  • Shovel
  • Torch
  • Car phone charger and a fully-charged power bank
  • Contact details of a breakdown provider
Why Choose Elite Garages?

Elite Garages is a family-owned business providing dealership quality services without the added costs or small print. We specialise in servicing vehicles of all makes and models, MOTs, quality tyres, shocks, brakes and vehicle safety checks to name a few. Our technicians are friendly, professional and expertly trained to offer you the best possible advice and service.

What’s more, is that we will never perform any work on your vehicle without your prior consent. We have 13 branches across the UK ready to help you on the way. If you suspect anything is wrong with your car, regardless of how small it may seem, book a FREE Safety Check at any of our Elite Garages.