Whilst there is a strong case for using your car regularly, we understand that many will avoid driving when the winter weather takes hold to reduce the risk of damage to their vehicle – salt in particular can cause damage if it isn't cleaned from all surfaces.
As cars are stored away for the winter, here are a few tips to help you make sure that your car stays safe as the colder months are upon us.
- Inflation – slightly over inflate your tyres to prevent flat spots developing.
- Clean and dry – thoroughly wash your vehicle before storing away for the winter and make sure that it's thoroughly dry before parking in your garage.
- Dehumidify – it is worth putting some sachets of dehumidifying crystals inside to prevent the build-up of moisture and risk of mould.
- Don't go flat – invest in a good quality battery charger/conditioner to ensure that the battery remains in good working order. The best units will cut off when the battery is charged fully.
- Cover up – if you are particular about your paintwork, you may want to consider a soft indoor car cover to keep dust and debris away from the car, particularly if you continue to use the garage regularly.
- Fuelled up – you should keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in the car, as draining the tank is both hazardous without the correct equipment and leaves vapour in the tank which is potentially more flammable.
- Don't be idle – try and avoid starting the car and leave it idling without actually driving it, as this can cause potentially harmful fuel residue to form inside the engine when it is not fully burnt off during the combustion process that happens under normal driving.
- Wildlife – check your garage regularly. Birds and small animals may seek shelter inside a garage and, if left unchecked, can cause extensive damage to vehicles – vermin seem to love chewing on wiring for example.
- Hot or cold? – heating your garage can be detrimental as it can cause moisture and most vehicles will not be adversely affected by freezing temperatures in the UK.
- Keeping your cool – following on from the point above, make sure that your coolant is at the right level. Many garages offer a winter check (whether you plan to drive throughout the season or not) so if you are not mechanically minded, take advantage of this sort of service.
- Regular checks – make sure that you check your garage regularly to identify any potential hazards that may lead to a fire for example.
In terms of insurance cover, most of our policies are based around an anticipated annual mileage which should include the winter months. You can opt to amend your policy to “laid up”, but you should remember that this will remove any cover to drive your vehicle anywhere that the Road Traffic Act applies.
You should therefore be careful when exercising the car anywhere that you might consider to be “private” as not all private land is excluded from traffic laws. If you keep your full cover in force, then this will not present an issue.
If you choose to let a professional store your car as it gets colder, then all you need do is advise us of the storage company's name and address. We work with most of the leading car storage firms in the UK and their security measures are known to insurers. If it's a company who we don't know, then we may ask you for some additional information around how your car will be protected.
If you plan to keep driving through the winter, this article may be of interest https://www.locktonperformance.com/news/winter-driving-staying-safe-as-the-weather-gets-colder.html
Whether you decide to store your car over the winter or keep driving, stay safe and if you have any questions, please talk to us today.