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AdBuzz LeadWinter has arrived and walking out to your car, turning the key in the ignition and driving off is no longer a certainty given that cars have a tendency to act up in the cold weather. This is why you should pay attention to the following components to ensure that your car functions well throughout the season.

Battery. Cold weather damages the battery and charging system. Have it inspected by a professional to ensure that it is fully charged and consider replacing the battery and charging system if they are over three years (especially if temperatures are expected to drop below freezing point). Check electrical connections, including spark plugs, to ensure they are corrosion-free.

Fluids. For optimal function, a car needs fluids – including brake, engine and transmission oils, and antifreeze – to flow freely. During winter, these fluids thicken which restricts their flow and can cause engine failure. To avoid this, make sure to flush and replace them annually. Maintain oil levels above the ‘half’ mark; this prevents moisture from settling in the fuel pipe which happens more frequently in the cold weather and creates blockages.Tyres. Tyre pressure decreases as temperatures drop; not only do under-inflated tyres offer less traction, increasing the chances of skidding, they result in the car using more fuel. Have the tyre pressure checked every week and ensure that the tread depth is at least three millimetres; consider switching to narrow winter tyres for improved road grip.

Wipers. Clean the windscreen before turning on the wipers; the blades can be damaged if they scrape against dust particles. To prevent wipers from ‘sticking’ to the windscreen, pop them up so they do not touch the glass when you park your car. Set the heater to defrost to speed up demisting when you start the car; top up the windscreen wash and washer solvent for maximum visibility and smooth wiper functioning.

– Haroon Rasheed

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 23, 2014.