As Autumn begins to wind down, and we move into winter, snow and sleet and freezing rain introduce a number of challenges to everyday life, not the least of which is simply keeping your car operating safely. There are several things you can do right now to ensure your car operates successfully throughout the winter months as well as maximise your WAV’s ability to keep you and your family safe should a winter weather problem occur. Here are four key strategies to follow;
> Put a “winter supply” box in your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
This is the single most important thing you can do for your WAV and for your personal safety. Having a box full of winter supplies in your boot can make all the difference when something goes wrong while traveling on a cold winter day. Here’s a quick list of items you should include in that box: a torch, a first-aid kit, a few blankets, a change of warm clothes, a few extra pairs of gloves, a radio, a charged mobile phone for 999 calls, a bag of sand (for grip), an extra ice scraper and some high-energy snacks (like nuts). Obviously there are some very specific things you may need, due to the nature of any mobility issues. We would recommend that you make a full list and keep a supply in the vehicle.
> Check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels
A kit for checking your engine coolant levels is available at almost every vehicle supply store. Using that kit can let you know quickly if you have an appropriate coolant mix. You can also directly check your antifreeze levels by following the instructions in your car’s manual. Adding more antifreeze is very simple, too, if you need to do it.
> Check your tyre pressure and tread depth
Good tyres are the key to staying on the road and keeping safe when the weather is questionable and snow and ice are falling from the sky. You can do your part to ensure your tires are in good shape with just a few simple steps. First, check your tyre pressure with a simple gauge. Follow your manual’s recommendations for pressure level, and if your tyres need air, fill them up. You should also make sure your tyres have appropriate amounts of tread on them. If you live in a particularly wintery area, you may want to consider installing winter tyres before the season begins, as they will make all the difference when it comes to getting around.
> Use winter windscreen wiper fluid
Not all windscreen wiper fluid is the same. Ordinary fluid that you use in the spring, summer and autumn often becomes worse than useless in the winter, as it freezes quickly upon contact with your windscreen. When winter comes, switch out your fluid for “winter” fluid. Winter fluid is designed for the rigours of winter weather and won’t freeze on your windscreen. In fact, it actually helps loosen ice and snow from your windscreen, making it much easier to keep things clear.
All these changes are useful for operating a WAV in the winter months, but if you do nothing else, include an emergency box in your car. That one goes beyond keeping your car running well and actually keeps you and your family safe in the case of a winter car emergency.
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Lewis Reed Group
With over 20 years experience producing wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK, you can be sure that we can offer excellent customer service with a level of knowledge that is completely unrivalled.