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If you use winter tyres, it’s time to change back to summer ones when the temperature starts regularly going over 10c. You’ll find your vehicle will perform better on wet and dry roads with good summer tyres.
It’s easy to forget, but keeping all your fluids topped up is vital. Check your oil regularly, make sure you have enough windscreen washer fluid and don’t forget your brake fluid or coolant.
Little known fact: your tyres lose twice as much pressure in summer as they do in winter, so make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly. Underinflated tyres reduce your fuel economy.
Your battery works harder in the summer months, so if it’s a few years old consider having it tested by a professional.
Winter conditions are unpredictable, so if you get more than a light dusting of snow during the winter months, or if the temperatures regularly drop below 7 °C, you should switch to winter tyres. They help provide better traction, grip and handling on snow, slush, ice and on frosty roads.
It’s worth remembering that because the ground temperature is often colder than the air temperature - especially at night and first thing in the morning - there are real benefits to winter tyres even when the air is milder.
Tyres are more effective when properly inflated
Check your tread depth before installing them
Install them on all four tyres
Respect the ice: It’s still slippery, even with studded tyres.
Don’t use cruise control on icy roads.
Allow for margins of error – and other drivers.
Gently turn your steering wheel from side to side when climbing hills. It’ll help you gain traction.
Get a feel for driving on studs first, if you have no experience of it. Practise in an empty car park or other open space.
If you live in a place where you regularly drive in severe winter conditions, you may want to consider tyre chains. They enhance traction on snowy and icy roads and are a legal requirement in some European countries at certain times of the year.
Make sure your brakes are performing the way they should. Check your heater and defroster before the winter comes so that you’re ready for those cold mornings.
Check your coolant – it should contain a 50/50 ratio of water to antifreeze. You should also make sure that your wiper fluid is right for winter and won’t freeze. Lastly, you might also want to think about replacing your wiper blades ahead of the snowy and icy weather.
You can buy special winter grade oil that will make it easier to start your car on cold mornings. It’s a good idea to have the oil changed before the cold sets in, especially if you’ve switched to thicker oil during the summer months.
The salt and chemicals that keep roads safe in winter can corrode your vehicle over time. While you’re at it, remember to keep your windows and windscreen clean so you can see as well as possible when driving.
Driving in wintry conditions can test the most skilful of drivers. So slow down, leave extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and learn how to handle skids, snow, and ice.