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What to Do if Your Car Won't Start in the Winter

The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and it’s finally gotten cold enough in Salisbury that you need to turn on your car’s heating system every morning before heading out the door. Winter car repairs can be just as important as summer car repairs, and they can be equally dangerous if you don’t take care of them promptly.

The following guide explains what to do if your car won’t start in the winter and what precautions to take against cold weather damage.


Jump Start Your Car

If you leave your car parked outside overnight during a cold snap, chances are it's going to be tough getting started again. Even though we tend to think of our cars as air-conditioned cocoons, they still rely on certain fluids and bits of technology that can freeze up or otherwise malfunction when temperatures drop.


If your battery is dead or you left an interior light on overnight, you'll have to jump-start it by attaching a charged battery from another vehicle and letting it charge for about five minutes (this also works for batteries in motorcycle/ATVs and other vehicles). After making sure both cars are turned off, simply connect one end of a set of jumper cables to each battery and then attach them with alligator clips on each side.


If you want to be on the safe side, you can also buy a car jump start emergency kit from Amazon. These kits enable you to jump-start your car on your own, without needing another vehicle. Their prices range from only £50 to £200 and they can come in handy when you need to bring your flat battery back to life.


How to Check For Battery Issues

The first step is checking whether or not your battery needs replacing. The easiest way to do that is by taking it to a local mechanic, but there are a few things you can check yourself. First, open up your hood and look for any strange hoses attached to it. The little caps that cover each battery terminal should also be unscrewed – you may want to cover them with tape so they don’t spill any acid when you remove them.


Make sure there aren’t any cracks or other visible signs of damage on either end of either terminal! You'll also need to clean off any corrosion using baking soda and water (use 2 teaspoons per half a pint). Never pour water directly onto a battery. Instead, use some paper towels to catch drips from around its insides before wiping off both terminals. If everything is clean and shiny and you can't see anything unusual, it's time to test your battery with a multimeter. Here is a video on how you can do it:

Replacing Worn Out Belts and Hoses

One of the easiest, most effective things you can do to extend your vehicle’s life is replacing worn-out belts and hoses. Worn out rubber parts can lead to everything from squealing brakes and defective air conditioning units to costly repairs. A lot of owners neglect regular maintenance, but it could mean fewer problems down the road. Especially in the wintertime.


Replacing worn-out belts and hoses is cheap and easy—so why not give it a shot? You’ll have more money in your pocket and peace of mind knowing that you did something proactive for yourself. You can always give us a shout and our Salisbury car repair specialists will be happy to have a look at it for you.


Pre-Mature Tire Wear - Flats, Chips and Scratches

Tire wear is mostly cosmetic, but it’s still annoying and can make a big difference in how well your vehicle handles on icy roads. This type of tire damage usually isn’t caused by potholes or rough roads; instead, it's usually due to low tire pressure (which can also cause uneven wear) or curbs. To prevent tire damage from happening, check your tires regularly—at least once a month—and always inflate them at recommended levels. In addition, try not to drive on curb edges and keep off shoulders whenever possible.


Finally, you may want to consider picking up some extra protection for vulnerable wheels when you pick up new tires. Our Salisbury tyre specialists will have options for added protection.


If you need help with the winter repair of your car, we provide a wide range of car repair & service options in our Salisbury car repair garage.

To get your vehicle looked at by a car repair & service specialist, message us on Facebook, use our contact form or give us a call on 01722 411444.

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