Winter presents special challenges for South African car owners as freezing temperatures hit the Highveld and lashing rains make life difficult along the coast. Jeff Osborne of Gumtree Autos says a  dark and stormy winter’s night is the worst time to break down “so if you have concerns about any part of your vehicle’s performance get it sorted out before the big chill arrives”. 

Osborne also recommends a basic checklist of ways to winter-proof your vehicle.

  1. Get your battery checked at a dealership and replace it if there’s a concern – flat batteries are the most common cause of vehicles failing to start.
  2. Pay special attention to your windscreen wipers and the de-mister – both need to be in good working order in the rain and the cold.
  3. Visibility is often poor in winter so make sure all your lights are functioning well.
  4. In wet or icy conditions your tyres matter even more than usual and it costs nothing to get the tread checked at a tyre dealership.
  5. Parking your car outside in winter potentially exposes it to water or frost damage which can dramatically lower the resale value. Find some cover or, if none is available, don’t park under trees during a storm.
  6. Don’t use boiling water to clear a layer of frost or ice on the windscreen as this could crack the screen. Use a scraper and your wipers. Then ensure that your view is clear before setting off.  

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