Bridgestone South Africa

Prep now for Winter - Bridgestone

May 05, 2014

Winter is on its way and can cause all sorts of motoring issues. As always, prevention is better than cure and tyre maker Bridgestone has highlighted some of the main issues which motorists face in the cold season.

"Our first piece of advice is a practical hint for people who live in South Africa's interior regions," said Bridgestone PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk. "We've all experienced the unpleasant shocks from static electricity when getting out of our cars, but there's an easy way to prevent this: simply hold on to a metal part of your car, like the door, before you put your feet on the ground," she advised. "That way, the static electricity will disperse without an unpleasant spark."

One of the more serious issues in Winter is when the car's battery is not able to turn the engine to start it. Although car batteries eventually fail after several years, poor maintenance can cause premature failure. Bridgestone suggests the following tips for battery maintenance:

Security – check that the battery is properly secured in its bracket or holder. If the battery rattles around loose, its internal parts can be damaged, leading to sudden battery failure.

Terminals – check that they are clean and tight. A light layer of petroleum jelly can prevent the terminals from becoming contaminated with corrosion.

Water levels – unless your battery is a sealed type, check that the cells are properly filled. The electrolyte should completely cover the plates inside the battery. Only use distilled water to top up the cells.

Air holes and drains – check that battery air holes are clear and that battery drains are secure and in place, to prevent battery acid from contaminating the car's paintwork

If your car refuses to start just a few hours after it last ran without problems, you might have a dead cell in your battery. This happens when plates inside the battery short out, or stop making proper contact. A battery with a dead cell might show intermittent symptoms before eventually failing, so replace the battery at the first sign of trouble. That way, you won't be left stranded.

In a really cold winter, it can sometimes happen that your windscreen wipers can freeze to the windscreen with frost. Don't try to use your wipers to clear ice off the screen – you might end up damaging the blades and even scratching the windscreen. Rather use a jug of tap water or a hosepipe to wash off the frost before turning on the wipers to keep the windscreen clear.

A useful hint is to use the air conditioner to clear condensation on the interior of windows. The air conditioner dehumidifies the air, allowing you clear vision until the engine has warmed up and the heater can take over.

"Of course, don't forget to ensure that your radiator coolant has the correct mix of antifreeze to prevent engine damage on a very cold night," Bridgestone's van Niekerk added. "Winter motoring is all about preparation, and although we don't have to worry about snow chains and similar issues like in much colder countries, a bit of foresight can ensure you're not left stranded," she concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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