Car maintenance tips for the winter

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Winter is well and truly upon us, so it is time to make sure you and your car are ready for it. With frosty mornings and towns covered in decomposing leaves from the now nearly-bare trees, safety must be the number one priority.

One of the most basic things to consider is one that the police regularly highlight, and yet still people are being caught out: if your car windows are frosted up on a morning, you must not leave it running with the keys in while it thaws. Far too many people have had their cars stolen in this manner and it is one that can leave insurance invalid. As tempting as it is, you should also try not to use hot water to quickly defrost the windscreen – you run the risk of cracking it.

In some countries with regular extreme weather, snow chains are an option for the tyres. In the UK these are less likely to be necessary unless you live somewhere isolated and open to the elements, but it is important to make sure you have a decent tread. The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but the deeper the tread the better the grip so it is best to replace them before they get too low. Wet leaves are also a big hazard, so caution should be taken even on milder days.