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Winter Breakdown Review Infographic

10 Mar 2016 at 12:03

Learn which breakdown faults occur most during the winter, how often to check your car and how best drive in extreme weather conditions - with expert tips from our patrol heros.

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Winter breakdowns

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In 2015, the RAC were called out to 1,288,089 breakdowns in the United Kingdom. Of that number, a total of 334, 992 breakdowns occurred during winter.

The RAC attend more breakdowns in the winter due to battery, tyre and alternator faults, all of which are vulnerable to the cold weather. We have quizzed our seasoned patrols and expert technicians to answer the following questions: how often should I perform maintenance checks, what do the dashboard warning lights mean and how should I drive in extreme conditions?

Seasonal Breakdowns: The majority of breakdowns occur during the winter; of those, the top three breakdown-faults are of the plugs, battery and alternator.

Percentage of Breakdowns by Month: over 10% of breakdowns take place in January.

Winter Breakdowns by Category: extreme temperatures can be hard on car batteries so it may not be a surprise to hear that the RAC attend more call-outs for batteries than any other faults during winter.

Common Winter Warning Lights: the warning lights on your dashboard will pop-up when something goes wrong with your car. Look out for the following lights during winter:

  • Pressure monitor: alerts you to low tyre pressures, indicative of punctures
  • Battery charge: often relates to faults within the car's electrical system e.g. alternator, battery, cabling
  • Oil warning: notifies you that the oil temperature may be too high, or the pressure and/or level is too low
  • Engine fault: indicates a malfunction of the engine

Our patrols are highly skilled technicians dedicated to rescuing our members in all weather conditions - who better to ask for expert driving advice?

Regular vehicle checks: should be performed on your car, especially in poor conditions and before setting off on a long journey. These can vary depending on your vehicle, so you should always refer to the handbook where possible.

Driving in extreme conditions: if the driving conditions are extreme then do take note of Met Office weather warnings and only drive if necessary.

  • In snow: to reduce the likelihood of wheel spins, use low revs and try to get into higher gears
  • In heavy rain: in the event of aquaplaning, do not brake but do ease off the accelerator
  • In fog: increase the distance between your car and the car in front
  • In high winds: hold the steering wheel firmly

RAC to the Rescue