Looking after your car in winter

It can be hard to know how to look after your car during the colder months. We’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare your car so you’re ready if your windscreen freezes or your locks seize up this winter.

Check your lights

With fewer hours of daylight, we use our lights more in winter. Headlights and taillights not only help you see what’s in front of you; they also ensure that you’re seen by other drivers on the road. Regularly check that your lights are working (including your indicators) and give them a good clean if they’re getting foggy.

Take care of your windscreen

Frozen windscreens are common in some parts of New Zealand. Covering the screen the night before can prevent it from icing up in the first place, but make sure the cover isn’t wet or made of a fabric that will leave fibres. If your windscreen does ice over, use a good quality plastic ice scraper or a chemical de-icer to remove it. Don’t pour boiling water over your windscreen as the sharp temperature difference can cause the glass to crack.

As temperatures drop, foggy windscreens can become a common occurrence. They can be cleaned up and kept clear with an automotive glass cleaner. Avoid using your hands or an old cloth to clear the windscreen as they’ll leave marks. If your windscreen does get foggy, turn on your aircon, direct it at the windscreen and slowly increase the temperature until the windscreen clears. Doing this will dry out the damp air in the car and will also help to clear any ice from the glass and mirrors.

Frozen locks or doors?

If you can’t unlock your car door after a cold night, don’t force the handles, as they can easily snap. Instead, try using a de-icer or warm (not boiling) water on your locks. You can also use either of those along the edges of the door seals if they are frozen to the metal frame.

Think of your battery

To prevent draining your battery, turn off all accessories like the radio, heater and window wipers before trying to start your car.

Car batteries don’t last forever, so it might be worth getting yours checked before the cold weather sets in. A test can determine whether your battery needs replacing and can prevent it from failing when you need it most.

Remember your tyres!

Check your tyres regularly, making sure they all have equal pressure. If you’re unsure of what your tyre pressure should be, it can sometimes be found in your car (try the driver’s door post or the inside of the fuel flap). If you can’t find it, your local tyre shop or service centre should be able to help.

The tread on your tyres should also be checked regularly. You can use a tread depth checker/gauge, or your local tyre shop or service centre should be able to help. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.5mm, but the more tread you have, the better the grip your car will have on the road surface, especially on rainy days.

Any questions?

Now’s a great time to review your insurance. We recommend checking your details are up to date and ensuring the policy and cover you’ve chosen is right for you and your insurance needs.

If you have any questions about your insurance, need to update your AA Insurance policies or would like a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 8am to 6pm weekends and public holidays.

This blog provides general information only and is not intended to be a recommendation or personalised financial advice. Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to AA Insurance Limited’s policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.

Have a question for us?

Find out why we‘re consistently awarded best insurer and most satisfied customers:

Make an online enquiry

Call us on 0800 500 231

8am-8pm Monday to Friday.  8am-6pm weekends & holidays