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Getting your car through an Australian Winter

Driving in the snow
Slow down in snowy areas

As much as we hate to admit we have a winter in Australia, we do, and it can be rugged and unpredictable. Whether you’re heading to the snow or staying local, harsh winds, heavy rain, fog and sleet can make driving a challenge. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare your vehicle for the keep your car in good, safe condition, no matter what the weather’s doing.

Cooling system

Your Car's Cooling System (Water Pump, Hoses, Radiator, Thermostat, Heater Core) needs service year-round, regardless of the weather. In winter, the Coolant/Antifreeze lowers the freezing point and prevents freeze up, which could Crack an Engine Block. The Coolant also contains anticorrosion agents which prevent scale and lime build up in the Radiator and Heater Core, which is essential to keeping your passengers warm. It's very important to make sure the Cooling System is in good working order for winter driving.


We don’t always want to get going on a cold morning, the same goes for your car battery. To get the engine started on a cold day, the battery has to work harder than in warm weather due to the increased amps drawn by the starter. It’s a good idea to check the car's electrical components so that the battery doesn't fail. Why is this?

Start by making sure that the battery terminals are clean. It's easy to dust it with a cloth to prevent any build-up. Plus, you can watch for sulfation.

While you may not think to look at the battery before each road trip, it's a good idea to get in the habit of doing it. That way, you know everything is good with your vehicle before you get out in the cold.

Most modern battery systems are sealed. However, if yours isn't, consider checking the water levels regularly and top it off with distilled water until it's above the plates.


The engine can't run if the ignition system fails. Check the ignition components, spark plugs, leads, and distributor cap on your car to make sure that they are in good condition.

It's also a good idea to look for corroded or loose connections. If you notice that the car is hesitating, using more fuel, or sounds rough, please make sure you come in to Goodspanner for a service.


Visibility is always important, but even more so during winter. Rain, mist and fog can all cause visibility problems that make driving more dangerous.

Ensure that all of your lights are working. Replace any headlights or tail lights that appear dim or have a dull yellow look to them. Thoroughly clean the lights and lenses as you go it’s amazing how dirty they get even after buckets of rain.

Seat Belts

Your car's belts should also be checked before before the bad winter weather hits. Look for deterioration or cracks. Minor cracks are still a huge concern because they can break quickly. Change any belts that are suspect.

It's a good idea to check the belt tension, too. If you're not sure how to do that, you can look in the owner's manual that came with the vehicle. Some people may not feel comfortable doing that themselves. Call us at Goodspanner for assistance if required.

Tyres and Wheels

The tyres are the only thing between the road and you, so they are essential. Wet roads are common in winter, and that can be a huge hazard if the tyres aren't the best.

Low tyre pressure can easily cause excessive tyre wear, poor handling, poor brake performance, and damage to the sidewalls. Therefore, make sure you check the tyre pressure regularly.

It's easy to check the tyres on-site before you leave on your trip. Look for uneven tread and excessive wear. Replace any tyres that don't look decent. The minimum legal tread for Australia is 1.5mm.

If you notice any screeching when applying the brakes, come in for a service asap.


You know winter has really hit when your windscreen starts icing and fogging over in the mornings. It is inconvenient to have to wait for ages with the aircon on until it’s clear, it can also be damaging. That might not sound too bad but windscreen damage be very dangerous.

Replace your wipers, switching out worn down wipers with newer ones. If you’re headed to the snow consider filling your cars windshield tank with de-icing fluid too.

Any cracks in your windows should also be taken care of. The cold can force small cracks to become big ones and make driving much more hazardous.

Check your car’s heater and cooling fans are working, helping blast away any condensation and steam from the windscreen as it builds up.

Fuel Injector

A vehicle’s fuel system is easily affected by cold temperatures. By using a fuel injector cleaner, you can prevent some of these problems from happening.

Think of a fuel injector as the ultimate problem-prevention tool. You add it to the fuel tank as a way of cleaning the injectors, restoring any lost power and providing considerable help with hard starts.

When temperatures drop low enough, water that exists in the fuel system can freeze and cause all kinds of problems. Fuel injectors are designed to remove water from the fuel system, preventing future freeze-ups.

Fuel injector cleaners are relatively cheap and easy to use but can help with so many potential issues.