Winter Breakdown Advice

Our Winter Breakdown advice provides the essential information you need to ensure you are properly prepared to drive safely this winter. No driver wants their car to break down at the best of times, and certainly no driver wants to be left stranded by the roadside in the cold, dark and rain. Certainly having the right Breakdown Cover will ensure you will be attended by of our RAC Patrols if your car does break down, but there are a number of checks below that you can do yourself to help prevent a car break down from happening in the first place.

Plan Your Journey

Before you head out on the road you should plan your route and check with a Route Planner whether there are any traffic or weather complications. If conditions are suitable for travel you should inform family or friends when you are about to leave, your intended route and when they should expect you. If you expect the weather to be changeable, you should check for Live travel updates, but do not check your phone while driving.

Winter Checks

Before you head out on the road this winter, always check your ‘FORCES’.

Fuel – Ensure you have enough fuel for the journey. Cars use more fuel in heavy traffic and stop/start conditions, all of which are regular occurrences during winter.

Oil – To avoid engine damage and a potential breakdown, remember to check your oil and top it up when necessary.

Rubber – Always carry out basic damage, tread and pressure checks on your tyres. It is also worth considering winter tyres, as they work in temperatures below 7°C.

Coolant - Ensure the right level of anti-freeze is in your engine’s coolant to avoid engine damage.

Electrics – When on the road it is vital that you can see and can be seen. Always check your lights before heading out on the road.

Screenwash – Similarly, to ensure your visibility is not compromised, check your screen washer works down to -10°C or -20°C and that the levels are topped up.

Winter Driving

Once you’ve determined the weather is safe enough to travel in and have checked your ‘FORCES’, there are still a  number of things to remember when driving to help you avoid breaking down on the road. On icy roads you should pull away in a higher gear – two or three – for better grip. Always control your vehicle slowly and smoothly, whether braking, steering or accelerating. Speed is certainly a factor. Breaking distances can increase up to 10 times on icy roads and the distance you maintain between you and the car in front should take that into account. Before applying your brakes, always change down first to avoid wheel lock. If you are caught in a skid, do not accelerate or stamp on the brakes. Rather steer into the skid, so if the back end slides left, steer to the left.

Contact us today

Find further information here on Breakdown Cover or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1111 to get a quote.

Breakdown Cover from just £4.50 a month

  • Our patrols fix 4 out of 5 vehicles at the roadside in just 30 minutes on average
  • As Britain’s most experienced provider we've been championing motorists for 120 years
  • 92% of our members would recommend RAC breakdown cover to their friends and family