Cold Snap Sees Car Woes Surge According to Halfords Autocentres

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The late winter freeze has seen the number of vehicles suffering from cold-weather related problems soar according to Halfords Autocentres. The leading independent car servicing, repair, tyre and MOT network has reported an 18% increase in the sale of batteries - common victims of freezing temperatures - in the last 10 days alone*.

MOTs, Car Servicing, Tyres

Halfords Autocentre

The leading independent car servicing, repair, tyre and MOT network has reported an 18% increase in the sale of batteries - common victims of freezing temperatures - in the last 10 days alone

The late winter freeze has seen the number of vehicles suffering from cold-weather related problems soar according to Halfords Autocentres.

The leading independent car servicing, repair, tyre and MOT network has reported an 18% increase in the sale of batteries - common victims of freezing temperatures - in the last 10 days alone*.

Bookings for its Winter Inspection service have also surged, while the number of vehicles recovered to its garages via breakdown operators has also increased.

The company has also reported a late swell in enquiries for winter tyres and there was an uplift in general tyre sales in the last week, when compared to the previous weeks, as motorists struggle to find grip on frozen roads.

Rory Carlin, marketing director at Halfords Autocentre, said: “After a relatively mild winter, the late cold snap has apparently caught many motorists out. Cold weather places a number of strains on our cars and exposes any weaknesses in items such as batteries, alternators and starter motors.

“While we encourage motorists to act before the weather turns to prevent problems, it’s inevitable that a particularly cold snap will see breakdowns increase.

“We can’t do anything about freezing temperatures, snowfalls and the road chaos that ensues, but through our affordable winter inspection services, we can help prevent the thousands of cold weather related breakdowns that occur every winter due to poor planning.”

It’s estimated that 20% more drivers break down in the winter months.

Halfords Autocentres is offering a 12-point Winter Inspection for a special price of £29.95. The package offers vital checks to the battery, wipers, tyres, lights alternator, starter motor and antifreeze that will help ensure the smooth running of your car, whatever the weather over next few months.

Also included in the package is Duxback window treatment which improves visibility in wet and icy weather (worth £24.95) and a winter essentials kit with trigger de-icer, concentrate screen wash, demist pad and scraper (worth £10).

The revolutionary Duxback protection treatment disperses water quickly from your windscreen, making driving in the rain safer and reducing levels of ice forming.

Notes to Editors:

  • Figures relate to 10 days to 28 January versus preceding 10 days.

Winter Motoring Advice

To help motorists prepare, Halfords Autocentres has compiled a top five list of safety checks to help them enjoy a hassle-free winter of motoring:

1.    Increased use of lights, heaters and windscreen wipers puts high demands on the car’s alternator so have it checked, as well as the battery. Cold weather puts a disproportionate load on the starter motor too, so it pays to check that too.

A sub-standard, old or weak battery can easily be finished off by a cold snap - the cold can render the already deteriorating battery acid unable to cope with the load placed upon it.

Alternators - the component that recharges the battery and generates electricity used to power the car’s systems and equipment - are also at risk. The greater the load placed upon them, the harder they have to work. In the winter months, when drivers typically switch on numerous devices simultaneously (e.g. heaters, lights, heated screens, wipers and the radio), it can lead to the alternator failing or burning out.

Starter motors are also prone to the extreme cold and failure is a common consequence of a vehicle not being serviced to the appropriate schedule. Engine oil thickens with age and in cold temperatures, requiring more effort from the starter motor to turn the engine over. This places excess pressure on the component and if it is already weakened for whatever reason (e.g. age or wear & tear) it can fail.

2.    Antifreeze is far cheaper than a cracked engine block or burst radiator so check yours is topped up. The majority of modern cars use long-life antifreeze, which should never be mixed with other types. The mix of antifreeze and water should be 50/50.

3.    Filthy roads and dazzle from the low winter sun affect your ability to see so keep your windscreen clean (inside and out!) and replace worn wipers which will fail to sweep the screen effectively. Keep an eye on your windscreen washer fluid levels. Screen wash can freeze if the mix is too weak while washer nozzles can also freeze blocking the flow. Make sure that wipers are switched off when you park so if the blades do freeze to the screen you won’t damage them or the wiper motor when you turn the ignition on.

4.    Defective lights create a hazard for you and other road users so check them and change any blown bulbs. You must use headlights when visibility is reduced. You may also use front or rear fog lights but these must be switched off when visibility improves as they can dazzle other road users. Keep the number plates clean too, as you can be fined if they are illegible.

5.    Check your tyres are roadworthy. 1.6mm might be the legal limit for tread depth, but a greater depth – at least 3mm - is recommended for winter motoring. Winter tyres are better still, providing superior levels of grip and reducing stopping distances. Ensure you have a working jack and wheel brace and make sure your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure. Don't reduce tyre pressures to get more grip – it doesn't work and reduces stability.

Halfords Autocentres

With over 250 centres nationwide, Halfords Autocentres is the UK’s leading independent car servicing, repair, tyre and MOT network. Now part of the Halfords group, our name may be new, but our centres have been a feature of the towns and cities of Britain for a decade or more.

Halfords Autocentres provides dealership quality work at affordable prices to around 650,000 customers every year, with over 8 out of 10 saying that they would recommend us to a friend. Our expert service is backed with both a quality and price guarantee: work is guaranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles, and we promise to match any price quoted locally like for like (see website for terms and conditions).

http://www.halfordsautocentres.com

For further information, please contact Jeremy Merckel at WAA 07966 135671 or jeremy.merckel(at)waa(dot)co(dot)uk

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