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Winter car maintenance: Prepare your car for the cold weather

Winter car maintenance

Winter car maintenance is extremely important as driving in cold weather can cause unpredictable problems. Be prepared with our useful tips.

Here are a few useful things you should check to prepare your car before you go out on the road this winter.

1. Lights

In wintertime, the sun sets earlier and it turns dark outside quickly, so it is crucial to ensure your car’s lights are in good condition and functioning efficiently. Repair or replace them before winter if one of your lights is not working, foggy or turning yellow.

2. Deforester and Heater

Due to the high temperature gap between the inside and outside of your car, the windows will often be fogging or icy in winter. As a result, it is important to check that the defroster and heater are working properly to provide you with clear version.

3. Screen wash

It’s easy to get dirt on the car with the help of snow and ice. Refill the screen wash bottle in your car and keep your wipers in good condition to maintain your visibility.

4. Brakes

Rattling, squealing, shaking brake pedals and a noticeable increase in stopping distance all indicate that your car’s braking system needs to be inspected and repaired. As the stopping distance will increase in winter, it is important to make sure your car’s braking system is working properly.

5. Cooling system

Antifreeze will prevent water in your car engine from freezing in winter. Your thermometer will fall below zero if the amount of antifreeze in your car is not correct, so make sure you top up enough antifreeze. Don’t forget to test or have a look at your handbook to see what kind of antifreeze your car requires. Besides, check the rest of the cooling system to ensure that there are no leaks or visible damage to the radiator, coolant hose, and water pump.

6. Tyres

If you drive on rural or uneven roads, you could consider buying snow chains/socks or winter tyres. This will help to enhance steering and braking. It is worth noting that the legal limit of the tread depth of tyres is 1.6mm, so be sure to check this before setting off on your journey. Also, tyre pressure may change under the influence of decreasing air temperature and seasons altering; hence it is important to check your tyres.

7. Car services

Get a professional winter check if you don’t have time to do all the above. If your car is due a service, it is the perfect time to go.

Learner drivers

If you are a learner driver, ensure you stand out to other road users this winter with Insight’s unique and revolutionary sign system sold with both L and P stickers via our shop here.

We hope our useful winter car maintenance tips will help you get your car road ready.





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Driving safely in the snow

Driving Safely in the snow

With Winter just around the corner, it is vital to familiarise yourself about the importance of driving safely in the snow. Snow can be beautiful but dangerous at the same time. Whether you are a new or experienced driver, you should take extra care when driving in the snow or ice. Be prepared and stay safe by following Insight’s winter driving advice below.

1. Before driving in the snow
It is always good to remember to leave extra time for planning and preparing before you start your journey. Check up-to-date weather reports and traffic news to help you know more about the road conditions on your route. De-ice your windscreen, clear your windows, mirrors, and the roof of your car, and check your tyres before setting off. Consider purchasing winter tyres if you live in a place that is known to get snow. Also, check your fuel levels and ensure at you have at least a quarter of a tank. If you are driving an electric car, make sure the battery is fully charged as it may run out quickly in winter conditions. You can use a trickle-charger as a backup.

2. Driving safely in the snow
Use second gear to pull away and gently lift the clutch to avoid wheel skidding. Maintain a higher gear when speeding up for better control. Make sure that you are not driving too fast or slow. It is important to avoid movements such as harsh braking or steering. On a snowy and icy day, you need to allow up to ten times the stopping distance. Turn your dipped headlights on when driving in heavy snow and your fog lights if visibility drops below 100m. When going uphill, set off in a higher gear to reduce wheel rotations. Go down through the gears and allow the engine to slow the car while going downhill.

3. If you get stuck on the road
Turn your wheels from side to side or use a shovel to push and clear the snow out of the way if you get stuck. Remember if you keep moving while the wheels spin it will only make the situation worse. Drive from forward to backward, and then back again. Slightly step on the accelerator until the vehicle starts. If you cannot move, stay in the car to keep warm, but do not run the engine for more than 10-15 minutes in each hour.

4. Long distance driving
It would be helpful to take the following winter driving kit with you for long distance trips: chargers, sunglasses (to reduce glare), medicine, first aid kit, breakdown emergency contact, sleeping bag, blanket, shovel, torch, and water bottle.
Remember to also wear warm winter clothes such as a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof footwear.

For learner drivers
If you are still a learner driver, ensure you stand out to other road users whilst on the road with Insight’s unique and revolutionary sign system sold with both L and P stickers via our shop here.

We hope our winter driving advice helps you stay safe whilst driving in the snow this Winter.





Sunday Times Driving

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Top tips for new drivers

Top tips for new drivers

Recently passed your driving test? Here are some top tips for new drivers from Insight.

You may feel excited to get on the road or you may feel nervous and anxious. Follow our four top tips below in preparation for your first solo trip, and remember, there is still a lot to learn even after you have passed your driving test.

1. Get to know your car

If you are lucky enough to already own a car, it is vital for you to become familiar with it before getting on the road. Look at the buttons and switches, they may be different from your instructor’s car. Learn and familiarise yourself with all its functions and how they work. Remember to check and adjust your mirrors correctly to avoid the blind spot. These small things might save your life if you know how to activate or deactivate them. Be aware of the warning signals – If your car starts to make noises and warning lights appear make sure to take it to be checked and fixed as soon as possible.

2. Driving in harsh weather conditions

Rainy, snowy, foggy, and windy weather, they may sound scary. However, you should spend time practicing as much as possible to get more comfortable in all weather conditions. Drive slowly and carefully. In winter, make sure you clear any ice and snow on your car before you take it on the road. These types of weather conditions can reduce your visibility and cause unexpected situations, so the sooner you know how to cope with them the better. If you think the weather conditions are not safe enough for you to drive, pull over in a safe place and wait for the weather to improve or reschedule your journey to another time.

3. Put your phone down

Do not use your phone while you are driving. It is extremely dangerous and illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while you drive, even if you are stopped at traffic lights or queueing. Your concentration should be 100% on the road. If you need to check your phone it is best to pull over in a safe place when you can and only get back on the road when you are able to fully concentrate on your driving.

4. Apply ‘P’ plates

If you are nervous, you may consider using ‘P’ plates on your car. ‘P’ plates let other road users know that you have just passed your driving test. Other drivers will know you are not that experienced and understand if you need to take more time and space to park or move. You can leave ‘P’ plates on your car for as long as you wish. Thinking about where to get some? Our Insight sign system is sold with both L and P plates and available to purchase online from our shop here.

By following our useful top tips for new drivers, you should hopefully now feel more comfortable to get on the road. Do not panic, remember you are not alone. Set a goal and plan your first journey!


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