How to prepare for Winter

The coming winter will usher in a difficult time on the roads. That makes it a good idea to keep in mind certain tried-and-tested advice and safety rules

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Winter roads are a test for both cars and their drivers. Is your car properly prepared for the winter months? Do you know what to watch out for and where dangers lurk? The following advice, tips and rules from ŠKODA experts can come in handy and are certainly worth thinking about.

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Change tyres and mindset

First fallen leaves, then ice on the roads, dark mornings, fog and poor visibility all day, followed by snow in all its forms. Winter is a time it’s worth getting ready for, and that includes your mindset – recognise that the easy days of summer are gone. Especially in countries where it’s compulsory, the winter season should start with a change of tyres – book with a service centre early and don’t wait until the last minute or it might be too late. It’s better to drive on winter tyres for a few more warm weeks than to be caught out by morning frosts with summer tyres.

Did you know that it’s not a good idea to run down your winter tyres after the season is over, and that you need to have winter tyres on cars with an all-wheel drive too?

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Do you keep your windows clean, with no dust or grease on the inside? It’s not a bad idea to wipe down the inside of the windows as well, as it reduces fogging. How do you deal with iced-over windows?

Are all your lights working properly? Now is the best time to check and replace them. What about the wipers: are they in good shape after the summer? In winter they’re going to be used much more than in summer and they need to work perfectly.

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At least when driving out of town, snow chains come in very handy – a good tip is to practise (or refresh your memory) by putting them on in the dry, in a quiet car park or garage. Don’t forget the winter fluid for the windscreen washer.

What to have in the car

During the winter months, it pays to carry a few extra things in the car. It's a good idea to have a sandbag, a shovel, a spare sweatshirt and blanket, or even a dry candy bar in the car. You should also keep an eye on your fuel tank and not let it drop to the reserve.

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When you come home in the evening and leave your car outside in the winter, there are a few more tips that come in handy. These will make it easier to deal with an iced-up car in the morning. You’ll learn what to do with the wipers, why you should cover the windscreen, how to park cleverly in winter and why not to turn your car into a tank. By the way, did you know that you can get fined in many countries for having dirty windows?

Even if you don’t have heated seats or a heated steering wheel, always take off your jacket before driving. For one thing it’s safer, but in terms of long-term thermal comfort you’ll also appreciate it, even though you may be cold for the first few kilometres.

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Be well-prepared

Even the shortest winter journeys can be surprisingly tricky and unpredictable. So it’s a good idea to be well-prepared, and not just when it comes to car equipment. Now is a good time to check your insurance and coverage for assistance services.

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You’re no doubt well aware that battery capacity and performance decrease in the cold. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have your battery checked before winter, even for internal combustion cars. The winter operation of electric cars is even more specific. Consult your aftersales team on how to keep your electric car in the best possible condition in winter – how to keep the battery at the ideal temperature, how to use the heating, how to park smartly and what Eco mode means.

Heat pump for electric cars

The ideal outdoor temperature for optimum vehicle efficiency is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. The range of electric vehicles is slightly reduced in winter, mainly because a sophisticated thermal management system has to keep the battery in the optimum temperature range. Energy from the battery is used to do this, as well as to heat the interior. Unlike models with internal combustion engines, electric cars cannot use waste heat from the engine for this purpose. The ideal solution, though, is a heat pump, which is an option for the ENYAQ iV and which produces warm air by compressing CO2. This lets the car heat the interior without consuming battery power.

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