Winter is Coming: Tips to brave the harsh weather
The clocks going back can only mean one thing: longer, darker, colder nights. Just like any other motorist, you’ll want to make sure that your vehicle is well prepared for the next few months of harsh weather.
It’s no surprise that breakdowns are most common at this time of year, and the last thing any taxi driver needs is to have their vehicle out of action. Protect your day-to-day livelihood by carrying out some simple checks and making a few quick preparations, before it’s too late.
We’ve put together a quick checklist for you to make sure your taxi is ready for the winter slog:
With the cold, dark nights drawing in, you’ll be using lights and heating a lot more often – occasionally even during the daytime. This necessary excessive usage can be a major strain on the battery, so it’s essential to keep it charged as much as possible. It may even be worth replacing the battery, as they generally have a total lifespan of about 5 years.
Since you’ll be using your lights more often, you should take the opportunity to check all exterior lights, along with various other electrics throughout the vehicle. By carrying out more frequent checks, you can keep on top of everything working properly in the long term.
When not in use, low temperatures can mean big trouble your engine, so checking that the cooling system is in good working operation is essential. After all, the last thing you need is to get into your taxi just before a shift, only to find the engine won’t start.
The coolant in the system will be a solution of diluted anti-freeze, usually half-and-half anti-freeze and water. However, this can vary depending on the model of vehicle so it’s always best to check the handbook first. Keeping this solution topped up during the season will help to keep your engine running smoothly throughout.
Just as with other aspects of your vehicle, keeping a regular eye on tyre pressures will make sure you don’t run into any unexpected trouble. You might want to consider switching to winter-specific tyres, or even all-season tyres, as these are designed to better deal with the road in tougher conditions.
Whilst the legal minimum tyre tread is 1.6 millimetres, it’s highly advisable for tyres to have a tread depth of at least 3 millimetres during winter. This extra depth helps tyres to grip wet or slushy roads better, whilst prolonging the time it takes to wear down to the lower limit.
Defrosting those windows when you first get in the car is always a pain. The best way (but unfortunately, the most time consuming way) to deal with it is to let the car warm up naturally after switching the engine on. Using an aerosol de-icer can help to speed things up a bit, but we’d suggest steering clear of using warm water or ice scrapers as these can damage the glass over time.
With reduced visibility in winter weather, checking the wipers and your screen wash levels will also benefit you greatly in the long run. Your windscreen will likely deal with more dirt, rain and ice over the winter months, so keeping your view clear is paramount.
Despite all your best efforts, there’s still a very real chance you might end up breaking down or needing emergency roadside assistance. By taking out a Breakdown Cover policy with Freeway, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be in safe and competent hands should the worst happen.
With benefits including unlimited callouts and home starts, you can add breakdown cover to any taxi insurance or minibus insurance policy for just £45 per year. To find out more, click the button below and get yourself covered for any potential breakdowns this winter and beyond.Breakdown Cover from Freeway