Gloucestershire garage shares top tips for preparing your car for winter

As winter arrives in Gloucestershire, leading Cheltenham garage, Cleevely Motors, shares some top tips for staying safe and avoiding breakdown while driving in the cold, snow and ice — from essential checks you need to make before starting a journey, to building your own winter breakdown kit.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Cleevely Motors shares some key advice for drivers this winter, from how to prepare your car for colder climes to staying safe on the road.
In partnership with Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles  |
Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles

Established in 1962, Cleevely Motors is a family-run garage on Cheltenham's Lansdown Industrial Estate, offering servicing and repair work for a range of domestic and commercial vehicles. Its sister business, Cleevely EV, was established in 2018 and specialises in selling, servicing and leasing electric and hybrid vehicles.

Temperatures are starting to drop below zero and there's even talk of December snowfall in Gloucestershire... winter is well and truly on its way!

While we love wrapping up warm for the crisp frosty mornings, the season brings its own set of challenges — particularly for motorists, with an increased risk of breakdowns and accidents on the road. To help drivers stay safe during the cold snap, award-winning Cheltenham garage, Cleevely Motors, shares its top tips for preparing your car for winter...

Before heading out in the car, what checks should drivers be doing on their vehicle during the winter months?

Firstly, check your fuel level — is it sufficient to complete your journey?

Check all levels, including your engine oil, coolant and screen wash. Check that your windscreen wipers can clear the screen effectively and check your tyre tread depths, too.

It's also important to check all lights are operating as they should — you might need somebody to help you with this one. 

As temperatures drop start to overnight, what's the most effective way for drivers to deal with their frozen cars in the morning?

In some newer vehicles that have app-based access, you can set your car to defrost and preheat, before needing to leave for your journey. There are a few important things you need to remember if you don't have this luxury: 

  • Always check the windscreen wipers are off before you start the car. If the wipers are frozen to the screen, the movement can damage them and the mechanism.
  • Start the vehicle before you need to set off. Turn on the warm blowers and, if you have them, switch on the rear heated screen and mirrors.
  • Remember that air conditioning is not just for summer — it will help to remove moisture from the air and stop your car from misting up.
  • Scrape while you wait, using an ice scraper. Avoid using hot or warm water to clear the screen, as this can cause it to crack while it flexes with the heat and contracts as it cools.
  • Ensure all ice and mist is clear before you start your journey.

What can you do if your car won't start in the cold — and what might be causing this?

Luckily, this isn't really an issue with modern cars — there's nothing about the winter that would cause any issues to the vehicle that would be different from it having an issue in the summer.

If you do experience a problem, remain calm and be aware of what the vehicle is trying to do.

If your car doesn't start, listen to what's happening when you attempt to turn the key in the ignition. If it's making a rapid clicking noise, for example, this could be an issue with the 12v battery not having enough power to start the vehicle.

Consider: was something left on that could have drained the battery? Has the vehicle been stood unused for a prolonged period? Is there a sufficient level of fuel in the vehicle?

If the problem persists, contact your breakdown service and arrange to book it in at a garage of your choice.

What are your top winter driving tips to stay safe on the roads?

Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, first and foremost. Winter safety checks can be carried out by either yourself or your local garage.

Checking tyre tread depths and tyre pressures to ensure good grip on wet or icy roads is key. Make sure that your windscreen wipers are in good condition and clearing the screen sufficiently — and check there is enough screen wash in the system, too.

Ask your local garage or battery supplier to check the condition of your battery as well. If it's in poor condition, you may want to consider investing in a replacement, so it won't let you down.

What would you recommend drivers have in their winter breakdown kit?

You can purchase breakdown kits online, which include high visibility jackets, a warning triangle, foil blankets and other useful items to keep you safe and comfortable in an emergency.

You can also put a winter breakdown kit together yourself. A few items we'd recommend include:

  • An ice scraper
  • Torch and spare batteries 
  • Warm clothes and a blanket
  • High visibility jacket
  • First aid kit
  • Phone charger

Make sure you know where your vehicle's locking wheel nut tool is kept and remember to keep the contact details for your breakdown company and policy numbers in the car.

In partnership with Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles  |

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