With battering storms along the coast and freezing temperatures on the Highveld, winter presents some special challenges for South African car owners.
Jeff Osborne, Head of Automotive at Gumtree South Africa, offers a quick checklist of six essential ways to winter-proof your vehicle.
- Get your vehicle serviced or checked – especially the electrics and the battery – because pouring rain is the worst time for a breakdown.
- Pay special attention to the windscreen wipers and the de-mister – both need to be in good working order in winter.
- In the dark early mornings or in rainy conditions, car lights need to be functioning well and switched on. Make sure you remember to turn then off once you park to avoid ‘winter flat battery syndrome’.
- Worn tyres are even more dangerous in wet or icy conditions so ensure they have a minimum one millimetre tread.
- Parking your car outside in winter potentially exposes it to water or frost damage and can dramatically lower the resale value. Find some cover if you can and, if you can’t, make sure you don’t park under trees during a big storm.
- Do not use boiling water to clear a visible layer of frost or ice on the windscreen as this could crack the screen. Use a scraper and your wipers. Then ensure that the demister and rear window heater have properly cleared your view through both front and back windscreens before setting off.