Riverside, Atherstone Street, Fazeley, Tamworth, B78 3RW

Winter car maintenance guide – our 9 top tips for safe motoring in cold weather

Cars breakdowns and accidents are far more likely over winter, so it is important to give your vehicle extra attention when the weather gets colder.

Follow our checks and precautions to get your car winter ready.

1. Car service

If your car is due a service anyway, it is sensible to book it in before the winter.

Alternatively, some garages offer free winter car checks so look out for offers.

2. Tyres

Tyres affect both braking and steering so are among the most important parts of your vehicle to check.

It is especially important when roads are icy or wet that your vehicle can stop as quickly as possible.

Ensure that tyres are not worn – experts say tread depth should be 3mm during the winter for a good grip.

Also, check tyre pressure. Winter tyres should be inflated to 0.2 bar higher than summer. Do this outside, not in a warm garage.

3. Battery

Car batteries work much harder in the winter months so make sure to check them.
And if your car battery is struggling to start, have it replaced if necessary.

4. Lights

Cars get dirty in the winter, not least from road grit/salt.

Dirty lights are not as bright so it is important to check them, along with rear reflectors and indicators to make sure they are clean and working.

5. Windscreen wipers

Windscreen wipers on an icy car

Check your wipers – replace worn or damaged wiper blades to give you maximum visibility when the weather is bad.
Make sure to turn them off when you park – if they are left on automatic and try to move when frozen to the windscreen or when there is still ice on the screen, they may be damaged.

6. Screen wash

You will use your screen wash a lot more in winter so keep it topped up.

The water jets shouldn’t block as screen wash has a lower freezing temperature than water, but it can happen.

7. Antifreeze

Make sure your car is topped up with antifreeze, which stops the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing.

You can test how effective it is using an antifreeze tester, which are cheap to buy.

8. Journeys

Check the weather forecast before setting off. Allow extra time for winter journeys and plan routes around major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted.

Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer and wait until the windscreen’s fully demisted before setting off.

9. Be prepared

Keep emergency supplies in your car such as extra warm clothing, boots and blankets along with a torch and shovel.

Make sure you have a mobile phone and a charger, a de-icer and scraper, food and drink.

Keep topped up with fuel just in case your journey takes longer.


When buying a used car, choose a reputable, trusted dealer like Rockpoint in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Visit our website to see all the latest quality stock or call 01827 283496.

Please get in touch with any other questions you would like us to answer, email james@rockpointbmw.co.uk

How to tell if a vehicle has been in an accident

Buying a car is an exciting experience but can also be daunting if you don’t know what to look out for when making your choice.

An important risk to check for is whether a vehicle has previously been in an accident.

A damaged vehicle which has not been repaired properly can be unsafe to drive or may be worth less when you come to sell it.

So read our advice before choosing your second-hand vehicle.

How to tell if a vehicle has been in an accident

1. A vehicle history check

Make sure you choose a reputable dealer and ask if they will carry out a full vehicle check.

At Rockpoint, we offer the HPI check, widely considered the best in the UK.

It uses the registration number, chassis number (VIN) and logbook (V5C) details to throw up any issues with a car and its history such as its mileage, ownership and any outstanding finance.

It will also alert you to whether the car is an insurance write-off.

An insurance-write off happens when a car has suffered damage and the insurer considers the repairs to be uneconomical. The insurer keeps the car and pays the owner the car’s market value.

There are different categories of write-off from from A and B which must be destroyed to those in Category C or D, which can be repaired and put on the road again.

Here at Rockpoint, we would never sell a Cat C or Cat D car.

Some traders do but they are legally obliged to tell you if a car has previously been written-off while a private seller is not.

So, it’s always best to buy from a trusted dealer where possible.

2. Look for signs of paint work

Professional Painting Of A Red Car On The Service - Rockpoint Limited

One sign that a vehicle has been in an accident is paint work.
Make sure you examine the paintwork in the sun or under a bright light to check for body work repairs.

You are looking for inconsistencies such as differences in colour, shade, texture or shine between panels.

Look from different angles and distances.

Also check for paint over spray, where paint particles have settled on nearby parts, or signs of masking tape, used to prevent this.

3. Lacquer peeling

Car lacquer is a layer of clear coat which manufacturers apply over car paint to protect it.

It also gives a car its glossy appearance.

Damage to the car or a poor paint job can cause the lacquer to peel, which leaves the paintwork vulnerable and can be tricky to fix.

4. Panels not lined up correctly

Buying Used Car Check Panels - Rockpoint Limited

Check panels when buying used cars
Uneven gaps between body panels and door gaps are another sign of accidental damage.

So, when looking around a vehicle, make sure to check the spacing and that the panels are lined up correctly and that the bumper sits flush.

If something doesn’t look right on one side compare it to the other side of the vehicle to see if it matches.

5. Bolts

Check to see if bolts have been tampered with or scratched inside the car on the bonnet, door or boot hinges.

If they have then the parts have probably been replaced or readjusted.

6. Registration plates

Check to see if the front and rear number plates are different.

If one is much newer, it may have been replaced due to being damaged in an accident.

7. New parts

Check for obviously new or replaced parts. In an accident, it is often the airbag cover or the lights which are damaged, so inspect these.

Compare the headlights and taillights to see if one is obviously newer.

8. Moisture in headlights or taillights

Buying Used Car Check Lights - Rockpoint Limited

If any lights have moisture inside then a corner could have been hit and cracked to let water inside.

A headlight can be costly to replace.

Buy from a trusted dealer where possible
Follow our tips when buying a used car and above all, remember to choose a reputable, trusted dealer like Rockpoint in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Visit our website to see all the latest quality stock or call 01827 283496.

Please get in touch with any other questions you would like us to answer, email james@rockpointbmw.co.uk