Dad dot info form. Ask questions, get answers

Driving Home for Christmas – checklist

Spending Christmas Eve on the hard shoulder somewhere between Colchester and Chelmsford with my daughters screaming taught me an essential parenting lesson! This year my car is heading back to the garage for a service before I drive home for Christmas.


Recent research from YesAuto revealed over half (52%) of car owners have little to no knowledge of car features and mechanics. Read here – . If that is you then here is YesAuto’s Motoring Expert Nick Francis’ winter checklist providing some helpful tips and pointers to ensure your car is winter-ready…

Get a service/check up

This is winter preparation 101, but something many people overlook. It’s worth timing your car’s service calendar for this time of year as you’ll want peace of mind that everything is safe and sound underneath you when the cold and rain comes. A mechanic will spot any potential problems and will hopefully be able to fix anything which needs addressing right away. You’ll want plenty of life in your brake pads, as stopping is harder in cold and wet conditions.

Top up fluids

The most important of these is the antifreeze in the engine coolant tank. Remember, if it isn’t pre-mixed, the engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, if you don’t have enough antifreeze the coolant could freeze and your engine will be liable to overheating.

Get the right tyres


If you have all-season tyres then you must make sure they have enough tread to be safe, the minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but it’s recommended you have at least 3mm, especially in winter. The best way to test the tread depth it is to put a 20p piece in the tread: if you can see the outer band of the coin in the groove then the tread is not deep enough. You should really consider fitting winter tyres to your car, as they will cope with wet and icy conditions much better than all-season tyres. A good rule of thumb is to fit them when temperatures drop to 7 degrees Celsius consistently.

Prepare for the worst

Breakdowns and accidents can happen at any time of the year, but they are more common in winter. In preparation for being stranded somewhere you should have a warm blanket, coat and high-vis vest packed in the car. You should also have a shovel if the conditions are snowy, as well as de-icer spray and a scraper. Always have a charging cable for your mobile phone, and you might want some waterproof boots in case you have to trudge somewhere through the rain or snow to find help.

Keep it clean

Visibility in the dark winter months is compromised, so you must keep your lights clean and bright. Pack a cloth and some cleaning fluid, but also regularly check all the lights are working.

Don’t run out of juice

A car’s battery is especially vulnerable in winter: there’s nothing like sub-zero temperatures to drain the life out of it. A car’s battery life is around five years, so keep track of when it was last fitted, and have a jump pack or some jump leads in the car in case you come back to find the battery has conked out.


For more expertise help – head over to the YesAuto website!

Related entries

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Standfirst There’s been a lot of diesel difficulties over recent months, and that’s had quite an impact on Honda’s CR-V range. While the petrol engines remain, downsized to 1.5-litres, the diesel versions have been dropped entirely and replaced with a petrol-electric...

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Refreshed for 2019, Phil Huff finds out if the hybrid-powered Outlander is still the green SUV of choice... Who’d have thought that the best-selling plug-in hybrid car would be a sizeable SUV? Mitsubishi understood the market when the Outlander first appeared in...

Latest entries

10 tips to support your child after break-up

10 tips to support your child after break-up

In 2020 ran a survey asking 1000 separated parents about their experiences of divorce or separation and they generously shared their concerns and most importantly their tried and tested solutions. If you are looking for ways to save your children from being...

We Support The Parents Promise

We Support The Parents Promise

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children if they separated.  87% of couples have talked about how they would spend a lottery win. Just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting...



Dads, do you struggle sometimes? Who do you reach out to for help? Debbie Pattison, a qualified counsellor at Fegans can answer your questions. Send them in to Ask Debbie at and if she can she will answer. Today’s question is about problems in...

Pin It on Pinterest