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Stay Safe This Winter – Vehicle Safety Checks

snow-icy-road

We are all aware of the basics when it comes to checking your vehicle over between services, but when winter approaches with its usual unpredictability, then it should be at the top of your to do list. When it comes to safety, a clear windscreen, correct tyre pressures and a fully operational braking and steering system are critical and could save you from an accident, injury or worse and save other road users from the same possible fate. For windscreens Morris Lubricants recommend the use of a good quality screen-wash at the maximum dilution rate of 50% (half water/half screen-wash). A good screen-wash will not only help clean the screen, removing all the mess that winter road surfaces throw up at the car, salt, mud, etc., but will also stop the water in the mixture from freezing when temperatures start to plummet. Some screen-wash products come pre-diluted so check before you dilute

Brake fluid should always be changed, if scheduled, during a routine service. However, a quick check of your brake fluid level when the bonnet is up is worth it. If the fluid level has dropped below the minimum fill level, take steps to top up with the correct fluid type as specified for that vehicle. This will ensure that the brake system will work effectively, especially if there are electronic controls fitted, ESP for example. These systems will definitely help you to stop safely if surfaces are slippery or muddy.

Morris Lubricants have 3 tried and tested Brake Fluids for just this eventuality:

  • DOT 4 ESP Brake Fluid
  • DOT 4 Brake Fluid
  • MLR Racing Brake Fluid

When it comes to tyres, it is critical to ensure that they are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated in the vehicle’s handbook. This will ensure the handling of the vehicle will not be affected. Of course this applies all year round not just winter. If road surfaces are slippery, over inflated tyres, especially at the front, can impair the vehicle’s steering responsiveness.

The power steering system also relies on the correct level of fluid to ensure positive and smooth operation. The power steering reservoir should be easily located with markings showing minimum and maximum levels. If the fluid requires topping up, again ensure the correct type of power steering fluid is added. Positive steering response in harsh driving conditions can help prevent accidents.

Our Power Steering Fluid is designed to meet the operational demands of most steering systems.

Maintaining the correct fluid level and dilution strength of antifreeze/coolant mixtures is vitally important to ensure no internal damage occurs within the engine. When water freezes, it expands and this is what causes the damage. A worst case scenario could be a cracked cylinder head or block. Once again, the vehicle manufacturer will provide guidance in the vehicle handbook , indicating the type of antifreeze coolant you should use and the dilution rate to ensure maximum frost and freezing protection. This is usually a 50:50 mixture, preferably with distilled or de-ionised water to prevent the deposit of hard water salts (furring).

Then of course there is the oil level. Ensuring that the oil level never falls below minimum, but is always maintained at the maximum mark on the dip stick, will provide the engine with the best operational environment. Checking the oil level should form part of a regular maintenance regime. Always follow the correct service interval guidelines for when the oil needs to be changed and always use an oil with the correct performance level, even for topping up. This will ensure the engine and any after-treatment devices are protected fully, under all driving conditions in all weathers. Helping to keep the engine reliable will ensure that you do not break down due to an oil related issue, that could leave you isolated or in a vulnerable position; all of which could easily be made worse if the weather conditions are horrendous.

Source: Morris Lubricants

Barton Petroleum has been an authorised distributor of Morris Lubricants for over 30 years. Click here for more information on the range of lubricants we supply including automotive lubricants.