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Winter check for your vehicle

11.10.2021

It's not just the chocolate Santas in the supermarket that tell us we're heading for winter. But also steadily falling temperatures and the ever earlier onset of darkness. SKANDIX has put together a practical checklist for you to download to prepare your vehicle for winter. You will also find some tips and tricks that you should take to heart.

Frost protection

Radiator antifreeze Before the onset of winter, it is important to have the right amount of antifreeze in the coolant. Otherwise, the cooling water can freeze and, in the worst case, this leads to engine damage. Therefore, the cooling water should be checked with the help of a antifreeze tester to determine the antifreeze content in the cooling water.

Battery

If the vehicle is stationary for long periods, a battery preservation device can be connected to the battery to prevent sulphation (loss of capacity) of the battery.
If these methods still do not help and the battery is at its end, a new battery is needed.

Also remember the battery in the radio remote control. If they are a bit older, they can quickly fail completely in winter. Some cars can then no longer be started because of the immobiliser. Therefore, it is better to replace them with new batteries early on in the winter.

Winter is a stress test for the technology in our cars. The battery in particular suffers from the winter temperatures. That's why you should take care of the battery early on. On the one hand, fully charging the battery helps, but the fluid level should also be checked frequently for batteries that are not maintenance-free and the battery should be topped up with distilled water. It is also helpful to check the poles for corrosion. If necessary, clean the poles and pole terminals with a special brush and seal them with polish grease. Still carry a jumper cable just in case. Battery grease

Winter tyres

Since 04.12.2010, winter tyres have been compulsory in Germany in case of bad road conditions. If possible, winter tyres should not be older than 6 years and have a tread depth of at least 4 mm. The legal minimum is 1.6 mm. The production date of the tyre is written as a 4-digit number combination on the sidewall. (2818), for example, means 28th calendar week 2018. Some tyre manufacturers give a longer DOT number code, which contains additional information. Here, the last 4 digits indicate the production date.

Tread-depth-gauge With a tire tread gauge, you can easily and accurately measure the tread depth of your car tyres. New tyres have a tread depth of 8-9 mm. The legal minimum tread depth in Germany is 1.6 mm for summer and winter tyres. The minimum tread law makes no distinction between summer and winter tyres. For safety reasons, we recommend at least 4 mm tread depth for all-season and winter tyres and at least 3 mm tread depth for summer tyres. When driving abroad, please observe the regulations applicable there.

Some car tyres have so-called wear indicators (usually marked "TWI" on the edge of the tyre). If the tread is worn down so far that it is level with the small ridges in the tread grooves, a tyre change is necessary. However, this tyre wear indicator is not particularly reliable.

Damage to the rims or wheel caps as well as missing trim caps for the wheel bolts are usually only cosmetic problems, but have a major impact on the overall appearance of the vehicle. The situation is different with valves / valve caps. After all, no one wants to have to change a flat tyre in frosty temperatures.

For transporting and storing your wheels, using tyre bags is always a good idea. This way, your summer wheels will survive the winter undamaged and their interior will remain clean during transport. So that your wheel bolts don't get lost, we offer you the practical wheel bolt bag in SKANDIX design.

Sluggish or damaged wheel bolts or wheel studs and nuts should be replaced. The use of wheel hub paste prevents the rim from rusting on the wheel hub, and the rims can be easily removed in spring. A wheel mounting aid considerably simplifies wheel mounting on vehicles with wheel bolts. The rim is properly centred over the bolt holes when placed and cannot fall off again until the wheel bolts are screwed in.

TIP: Make sure you check the brake system when changing the tyres. This is especially important on slippery days. Therefore, the wear on the brake pads and brake discs should be checked regularly. The brake hoses should also be checked to ensure that they are in good condition; porous brake hoses are a major risk in winter. It goes without saying that the steering and drive shaft boots should also be checked. Salt, dirt and water destroy unprotected joints particularly quickly.

Shock absorbers & wheel bearings

Defective shock absorbers can lead to a 20% longer braking distance. It is therefore advisable to check them at the same time as removing the summer tyres to ensure optimum braking distance. It is also advisable to change the wheel bearings at the same time if they are defective. If necessary, have this checked by a specialist workshop or an automobile club. Wheel-bearings

Light

Spotlight In the dark days, good lighting contributes to safety as one of the main criteria. Therefore, a "blind" headlight or defective lighting bulb should be replaced as soon as possible.

The cleanliness of the headlights also has an influence on the light output that should not be underestimated. Do not only change your windscreen wipers, but also check the wipers of your headlight-cleaning system.

door-lights and reflectors on the doors, which can be seen from behind when opening, improve the visibility of the open door to approaching vehicles. Free light test available at your specialist workshop in the month of October.

Sight

You can readjust the spray nozzles with the help of a small needle to apply the spray as centrally as possible in the viewing area. However, this only works on vehicles with single-jet or dual-jet nozzles. The newer fan nozzles are not adjustable.

The insect-removing summer windscreen cleaner should be replaced before the first frost with windscreen cleaner with antifreeze. After filling the tank, fill the hoses and nozzles with antifreeze by operating the spray system.

Radiator antifreeze

When it comes to icy car parts, there are now a variety of ways to win the battle against frost. One simple measure is to cover the windscreen with ice protection film. If you don't want to put this on the car all the time, there is also the option of using windscreen de-icer. The cheapest "medicine" against icy windscreens is still the ice-scraper. In addition, the wiper blades should be checked for function to ensure optimum visibility.

To counter the annoying "phenomenon" of windscreens freezing over from the inside, the use of a dehumidifier is recommended. This absorbs a large part of the condensation that tends to form in winter due to the large temperature differences and thus ensures dry windows inside. Incidentally, windows that are dirty on the inside fog up more quickly than clean windows. With special glass cleaner foam and microfibre cloths, a streak-free result is no problem.

Doors

Schlossenteiser For the lock cylinder, door lock care or a drop of BRUNOX® IX 50 is suitable to prevent icing. BRUNOX® IX 50 is a non-hardening multifunctional product that does not freeze up to -41°C, even in the lock cylinder.

Door seals should be treated with rubber care to prevent them from freezing and being damaged when opened. For example, you can use a deer valley stick, talcum or silicone spray.

Ventilation and air conditioning

Also make sure to replace the interior-cabin-air-filter (pollen filter) in time. Normally, the cabin air filter must be replaced every year or every 15,000 km, as it becomes clogged with fine dust particles and the so-called filter cake forms between the folds. Allergy sufferers in particular should make sure that the filter is in good working order, because it keeps the interior of a vehicle almost 100 per cent pollen-free. Clogged filters impair the performance of your ventilation system.

Vehicles with air conditioning should be disinfected, especially after the summer, to eliminate any bacteria, fungi and germs that may have settled in the evaporator housing. The condensate drain of the evaporator should also be checked for cleanliness. If it is clogged, there is a risk of faster germination and corrosion. Last but not least, check whether an air-conditioning service is necessary and switch on the system occasionally in winter: With its dry air, it very quickly clears the windows and remains reliable. Permanent non-use leads to damage.

Cabin filter

Corrosion

Underbody Protection Only corrosion protection or underseal will help against corrosion. This must be applied to derusted areas. Helpful for pre-application is rust-converter.

Shell mats

Whether it's rainy autumn weather or snow in winter, a lot of moisture gets into the interior of your vehicle during the cold season. In order to protect the original carpet and prevent the moisture from settling there and constantly causing windows to mist up, it is advisable to use plastic or rubber shell mats in the footwell.

There is also a suitable solution for luggage: whether it's the sledge after an extensive tobogganing trip with the children or the damp firewood for the next season, if you transport a lot in your luggage compartment in winter, we recommend the use of precisely fitting shell mats for the luggage compartment of your vehicle. This is because moisture also tends to settle here, which you may otherwise only be able to get rid of again in the spring.

Schalenmatte

Notes:

Wool blanket For long journeys, pack some biscuits and a hot drink in the car. Always have a blanket, a first aid kit, a folding spade, some snow chains and a jumper cable in the car.

Don't run out of fuel to the last drop. Check the fuel cap catch and replace if necessary.

When you have checked everything, you should also check whether your heating system is working. After all, who wants to be cold in winter?

If everything is in order, winter can come...

Below we have attached an overview of useful winter articles and a checklist to download as a PDF document that you can print out and tick off:

Additional information...