- Untangle the chains, attach them first behind the tyres and tighten them as much as possible before closing them in front
- Never use water as windscreen wiper fluid, and turn on the air conditioning to prevent the windscreen from fogging up, more useful tips to get your car ready for winter
21 December is when winter officially begins, and it’s probably the most important season of the year to ensure your car is fully serviced and ready for the cold and adverse weather conditions. Here are some tips you need to know:
1) Attaching snow chains. It’s easy if you’ve already put them on before, because often, when the time comes “some people don’t know how to do it”, says Jose Luis Durán, an engineer at the SEAT Technical Centre. To begin with, it’s crucial that they aren’t tangled up. Then they get attached behind the tyre, and when properly spread out you lift the ends of the inside ring and connect them at the top of the tyre. Then you have to centre them on the front, close them, tighten them as much as possible and connect the final links.
2) Choose the proper chains. You have to know which are the most suitable for your car’s tyres. There are several kinds: the steel link types are durable and resistant, and provide good grip on snowy roads, while the fabric, combined steel and fabric, and spider types, which also perform well and are even easier to attach. Also remember to put the chains on “once you’re already in the snow”, and never before.
3) Check all fluid levels. The most important are the oil, engine coolant and windscreen wiper fluid, and pay special attention to the latter because not anything goes. In fact, Durán says that “many people pour water the fluid reservoir”, which can cause problems because it may freeze in winter and therefore “also cause ice sheets to form on the glass or even freeze the wiper mechanism”. The best method is to use specific liquids.
4) Turn on the air conditioning. Durán says this will allow “the air inside to dry, preventing the windows from fogging up”. Having it on is not at odds with a comfortable temperature in the car as long as you regulate the thermostat. However, it is advisable to put it in “AUTO” mode so the compressor works at its optimum point, as this will avoid excess fuel consumption.
5) Carry warm clothing in the car. Blankets, anoraks, headgear and gloves can always come in handy. And make sure the fuel tank is full.
When you’re out on the road, remember to drive gently on the snow, use the engine brake whenever possible, and only brake in straight sections of the road, never in curves. And in foggy conditions only turn on the rear foglights if it’s very dense to avoid dazzling other drivers behind you.