Maintenance of the coach in winter
The cold in winter affects vehicles, so be prepared for their arrival. We can’t insist more. Keeping your car in perfect condition is very important and it is all year round. Carrying out the corresponding checks is essential to extend its useful life to the maximum and also to guarantee your safety and that of the rest of the road users. Now that winter is approaching, this advice is more relevant than ever.
Winter weather conditions require your car to respond perfectly and to do so in any situation. The fact is that these factors, such as cold weather, negatively affect vehicles. That’s why it’s so important to carry out good winter maintenance that you don’t let certain key elements pass you by.
Check the battery (and replace it if necessary)
Did you know that battery life can be affected by sudden temperature changes? This is especially true in cold weather. This circumstance is aggravated in today’s vehicles, with a constant electrical demand due to the large number of electrical components they equip.
This makes it very important to check the state of charge of the battery. And keep an eye out for these symptoms: if the car is struggling to start, the windscreen wipers move more slowly than normal or the electric mirrors fold and unfold with some difficulty, it may be time to change the battery.
Check fluid levels
You know your car uses certain fluids to function properly. In the case of coolant and oil, their levels must be correct to make starting the engine easier.
If your car runs out of coolant, it can suffer serious breakdowns. That’s why it’s essential to always check your level before the cold arrives. This fluid must be between the maximum and minimum marks on the expansion vessel. If you have to refill coolant, always wait until the engine is cold.
In the case of oil, you must remove the dipstick, wipe it with a cloth and insert it back into its hole. When removing it again, you must check that the lubricant level is between the maximum and minimum marks on the dipstick. If you need to add product, open the cap and fill with a fluid of the same characteristics as indicated in the car maintenance book.
When starting, bear in mind that the cold makes the oil more viscous. That is why you should not force the mechanics until a few minutes have passed. This way you will give time for the lubricant to reach every corner and avoid unnecessary wear.
As for the windscreen washer fluid, it is not necessary to measure any level. Simply pour liquid into the tank until it reaches its neck, before the cap. It is best to use a product based on ethylene glycol rather than a simple mixture of water and detergent. This is because ethylene glycol evaporates easily when sprayed onto the windscreen and will not make it difficult for you to see when driving at any time.
Don’t forget the wiper blades, including the rear one: if they are old or you simply check that they no longer clean well, you should replace them with new ones. You’ll really appreciate it when you’re driving in the rain.
Watch out for tyres
You should always drive with tires in good condition, but in winter it is vital to check. They are the only surface of your car that is in contact with the ground. That’s why you have to make sure that they will offer an adequate adherence to the asphalt in case of rain or snow. This way you will avoid loss of control due to poor tyres.
Among the factors you should check is the air pressure. At low temperatures, air pressure is usually reduced. That’s why it’s advisable to add up to 0.2 bars extra compared to the summer months. Keep in mind that a tyre with low pressure is totally ineffective when it comes to evacuating water from the road. This favours the appearance of dangerous aquaplaning at much lower speeds than if the pressure were correct.
It is also advisable to check the depth of the tread pattern. It should not be less than 3 mm, even if the legislation states that the minimum required is 1.6 mm. It is advisable to leave a certain safety margin in this respect. You must also supervise that the rubber does not present cuts or deformations.
It is also worth taking a look at the date of manufacture of the tyres. A wheel with more than five years begins to lose grip, especially in wet and low temperatures. On the sidewall of the tyre itself there are numbers indicating the week and year of production, as well as the measurements and the manufacturer’s brand. If you see that it exceeds five years, it is recommended that you replace the tires.