What Does a Winter Car Service Include?
Find out why it's important to prepare your car for the cold weather
The winter weather can make for adverse driving conditions even during the shortest of journeys. When the roads become more hazardous, it’s important to ensure your car is capable of getting you from A to B as safely as possible.
This is why a winter car service is vital in preparation for the colder months. With many service options available to motorists, it’s no surprise that some drivers are left feeling a little confused when it comes to booking an interim check-up.
But fear not, we are here to help! Our ultimate guide to winter car care explains everything you need to know about winter servicing, plus we provide maintenance tips with the aim of avoiding a vehicle breakdown. Read on to find out more…
Why is a winter service important for your car?
First things first then, let’s look at the reasons why it’s important to book your car in for a professional service:
Getting your car serviced before winter helps ensure components like the battery, engine and brakes are in good working order. Extra strain will be put on certain parts of your car during the cold weather, so you’ll want to make sure it can handle frosty starts due to sub-zero temperatures.
Checking things like the tyres, wiper blades, lights and brakes helps maintain good visibility, stopping and road grip, which is crucial for safe driving in potentially icy, snowy, or wet weather conditions.
A winter service allows experienced technicians to identify any worn parts like brake pads or damaged wiper blades so they can be replaced before they cause bigger problems. Plus, fixing these issues now means your car is more likely to sail through its next MOT.
Your car requires an oil change, new filters, and regular checks to help keep the engine running efficiently. Fuel economy and performance can typically deteriorate in cold weather, so you’ll want to have the best chance of optimum performance during the winter months.
Harsh winter conditions can expose existing car-related problems and lead to a higher chance of having a breakdown. A winter service aims to identify and address any issues before they turn into major repair bills or safety hazards.
If your car is on finance or lease, it may be that the manufacturer expects the vehicle to be regularly maintained to meet warranty requirements. Failure to keep up with such seasonal servicing could cause your warranty to be void and prove a costly mistake to make.
It may be that you plan to sell your car soon. If so, the resale value will likely be much higher when supplying comprehensive servicing and maintenance records.
What’s included in a winter car service?
A winter car service can vary slightly depending on where you take your vehicle to be maintained. Generally, though, the following checks are conducted:
Oil and filter change
The oil is replaced along with the oil filters so they are free of contaminants to keep the engine properly lubricated and running as smoothly as possible.
Fluids topped up
Fluid levels are checked and topped up if needed, including engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and sometimes the windscreen wash too.
The pressure on all four tyres is checked and adjusted if found to be above or below the recommended PSI. In addition, tread depths are checked to ensure good grip and safe stopping distances in winter conditions; if your tyres are below the minimum legal limit, your technician will advise getting these changed.
The condition of the battery is checked to ensure the car’s ignition is starting without any problems or delays. A replacement will be recommended if the battery’s performance is not up to scratch and is unlikely to make it through the winter.
Your car can have anywhere up to eight brake pads which all need checking that they are not worn - if this is the case, you will be advised to have these replaced. Your brake discs will also be checked to ensure they are safely and effectively stopping the vehicle.
Exterior lights tested
All the exterior lights on the car are checked for visibility and safety - if any are found faulty, these will be replaced and added to your bill.
Wiper blades function
The function of your front and rear wiper blades is very important - especially during the winter months. Both sets of wiper blades are checked and replacements are recommended if they are worn and underperforming.
Some service centres may include checking the heating system and/or air conditioning as part of a winter health check. Air con systems need regassing every couple of years and can lack in performance of clearing windscreens as they age. If this is not included in the service, there will be an option to check this separately.
How much does a winter car service cost?
The cost of a winter car service will vary depending on which service centre you use, and what is included in the health check. To give you a rough idea, you can expect to pay between £150 to £200.
Here at EMG Motor Group, we offer bespoke service plans designed to suit you and your vehicle’s needs. Please get in touch with us for a winter car service quote. If you wish to book your car in for a basic oil and filter change and check, our service team can perform this for a charge of £150* (*please contact us for a final quote).
We can also accommodate health checks on a range of makes and models. If you're a new or existing EMG customer, then please get in touch to enquire about this service which can be provided free of charge.
How can you prepare your car for winter? The essential driver's guide:
As a driver, there are some basic checks you can do to ensure your car is in peak condition for winter - if anything doesn’t look right, then you’ll need to book a service straight away. Here are our top 10 tips for preparing your car for winter…
- Check the tyres - Make sure each of the four tyres is set to the recommended pressure as per the vehicle handbook. Check the tyres have adequate tread depth; the legal limit for minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
- Check antifreeze levels - Make sure the antifreeze coolant mixture is formulated for cold temperatures to prevent freezing of the engine and component parts.
- Check wiper blades - Replace any old wiper blades and consider fitting new ones designed specifically for icy conditions.
- Maintain fuel levels - Avoid running low on petrol or diesel in your car’s tank to prevent condensation buildup and ice clogs in fuel lines.
- Book a winter health check - Have a mechanic check the battery, belts, hoses, tyres, brakes, fluids, lights, wiper blades, etc, so you can address any issues before they become bigger problems.
- Get roadside assistance coverage - Sign up for a roadside assistance plan in case you break down and get stranded in the cold.
- Store winter clothing in the car - Keep spare gloves, hats, scarves, boots, a coat and blankets to hand so you are prepared should the worst happen.
- Travel with emergency supplies - Pack a winter emergency kit including a torch, ice scraper, spare food and water, warning triangle, first aid kit, and jump-start cables among other items.
- Clear off snow and ice before driving - Always ensure your car is clear of snow and ice before driving. It is an offence in the UK to drive with snow on top of your car as this can create hazardous driving conditions for other motorists around you.
- Drive slowly and give distance - Winter driving conditions call for slower speeds, gentler braking and acceleration, and extra following distance. In icy and wet weather, we recommend you double the two-second rule to leave an extra safe stopping distance from the car in front of you.
Book your car in for a winter service at EMG Motor Group
When it comes to servicing your car, you will no doubt want to leave it in the hands of an expert. As a trusted automotive retailer, here at EMG Motor Group, we also provide full service facilities at our multiple repair centres.
We are approved by manufacturers including Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Citroen, Hyundai, and Ford, but our experienced technicians are trained in maintaining all makes and models of cars. Get in touch to find out more.
Do you want to learn more about what is included in a full car service? Read about the different types of servicing packages available and what is checked in each. If in doubt, head over to our servicing blog section where we highlight the reasons why you should have your car serviced regularly.