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We thought we'd take a moment to give you a few tips on staying safe and keeping your ŠKODA running smoothly during wintry weather, including basic checks, before you start, and then tips on driving in conditions you are likely to encounter this winter.
At times like this you'll appreciate just how important ŠKODA assistance is for you and your family. If your ŠKODA is less than three years old, you have complimentary, unlimited mileage, European-wide breakdown cover.
We've chosen the AA to provide the service for us, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It doesn't matter who's driving your ŠKODA – if they get into trouble, they can call. So if you are one of the few unlucky ones, help is only a simple phone call away.
If your ŠKODA is less than 10 years old, you can have full peace of mind this winter with ŠKODA Roadside Assistance from as little as £89*, when you call
0800 068 2525.
We hope this advice helps you stay safe in the snow and ice.
*Offers can be varied or withdrawn at any time. Prices include VAT. While every effort is made to ensure its accuracy, the information on this page is not binding and is subject to alteration. Please contact your local ŠKODA retailer for the latest information.
Before you start
On the road
It's crucial that you use the correct screen wash additive, especially in colder weather. This’ll help reduce the effects of freezing. Check the instructions on the bottle for concentration levels against predicted temperatures. We recommend you buy a ŠKODA solution to ensure it’s suitable for your car. Contact your local ŠKODA retailer for more information.
You can also buy a premix screen wash solution that’s already been diluted correctly. If you choose this option, make sure you always top up with the premix solution – don’t dilute it with water as this’ll reduce its effectiveness.
Remember that the washer system can still freeze, even if you have heated washer jets.
Anti-freeze should be added to your vehicle's cooling system according to the manufacturer's specification.
If the cooling system warning light is illuminated, switch off the engine immediately. Once the engine has reached a safe temperature, check how much coolant there is in the reservoir. If it's below the minimum level you'll need to top it up. Always do so with the correct anti-freeze solution as per manufacturing specification. Never top up with just water – this will reduce the system's effectiveness.
More detailed information can be found in the owner's manual if you’re still unsure. Alternatively, you could call ŠKODA Roadside Assistance on 0800 526 625 for advice, or contact your local ŠKODA retailer.
Your battery's connections should be tight and corrosion-free. If they aren't, the battery may need replacing.
The battery will have an inspection window on the top. Green means it’s working properly, black means it needs charging, and clear/yellow means it needs replacing. If you're not sure about your battery's condition, get it professionally checked at your local ŠKODA retailer.
Check the pressure of all your tyres, including the spare. You can usually find the right specification on a sticker on the driver's door pillar, the inner side of the fuel flap, and/or in the owner's handbook. If you’re unsure, please contact your local ŠKODA retailer or call ŠKODA Roadside Assistance on 0800 526 625.
Check the tread depth of your tyres. The legal minimum for cars is 1.6mm, but deeper tread depth will give you better grip in the snow. There will also be tread limit markers in the grooves of each tyre. If these markers are flush with the tread, the tyre needs replacing.
Despite the common misconception that winter tyres are only for use in snow and ice, you'll benefit from using winter tyres below 7°C.
Check your front and rear wiper blades for any signs of wear or splitting.
Don’t use your wipers to clear snow or ice from the windscreen - it might freeze them to the glass, in which case, operating them might blow the fuse. Carefully free the blades using de-icer and gently lift them off the screen.
If you do blow the wipers' fuse, you can usually find its location by checking your owner's handbook or the sticker attached to the fuse box's inner cover. If you aren't sure, seek professional advice.
Only use your car if you absolutely have to this winter. Plan your journey with the
RAC Route Planner or an up-to-date map. Tell friends or family where you're going, which route you're taking and when you expect to arrive. And don't forget a fully-charged mobile phone and a key de-icer (to unfreeze any frozen locks).
It’s also worth keeping some extras in your car in case you break down - a torch, a blanket, an ice- scraper, a shovel, suitable shoes or boots and a de-icer of some sort. A flask of hot drink might also come in handy on longer journeys.
A square of carpet placed under a slipping driving wheel can give you enough traction to get moving.
Reversing into your driveway means you can drive out forward, with a better view of approaching traffic.
Accelerate gently, using low revs and changing up to higher gears as quickly as you can.
Never set off if you haven't completely de-iced your windscreen and lights. Driving with just a small hole cut in the ice isn't just dangerous - it's illegal.
Never use hot water to clear your windows. The sudden change in temperature might crack the glass. It’s also a good idea to clear snow off your car’s roof, or it could slide onto the windscreen and block your view.
Plus, make sure you have enough fuel for your journey, bearing in mind that you may get stuck in traffic in wintry weather, and stop/start driving uses up more fuel than usual.
25% of all road accidents occur during adverse weather conditions, especially in snow, ice, rain and fog.
Keep an eye open for gritting lorries and snowploughs.
Driving downhill in a low gear can save you having to break, and helps avoid skidding. Brake gently too, and leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front – even as much as ten times the normal distance wouldn’t be a gap too far.
If you do skid, you’ll have plenty of room and time to manoeuvre your way out of it. And the way to do that is to steer into it. So if the rear of your car slides to the right, steer to the right, and if the rear slides left, steer left. Stamping on the brakes won’t help, and may make things much, much worse.
Pedestrians may also be walking on the road to avoid slippery conditions on the pavement, so adjust your speed accordingly. Increase your distance from the vehicle in front when driving on snow or ice-covered roads.
A dip in your concentration levels can have disastrous consequences. Keep your car well ventilated and take regular breaks to prevent drowsiness.
Even with ESC/ABS, stopping distances may not be reduced when braking on ice or snow, so maintaining an increased distance from the vehicle in front is still paramount.
When driving in slippery conditions it's not unusual for the ESC and ABS systems to activate to help you control the vehicle. The ESC/ABS light will flash on your dashboard to let you know, and produce a pulsing sensation through the braking pedal. Don't worry – this is completely normal, and may also be accompanied by a slight buzzing noise.
On snowy days there’s a 30% increase in road traffic accidents. Make sure you steer, brake and accelerate slowly and gently. It’s also worth wearing sunglasses to help reduce the snow’s glare.
Avoid driving in others‘ tyre tracks, as fresh snow is less slippy than ungritted compressed snow. Stay back from gritting lorries to avoid paint scratches, but never overtake it. The road will be worse in front.
Although it’s easy to think “it’s just water”, when there’s a real downpour and water is lying on the roads it can be as dangerous as ice to drive on.
Be considerate to pedestrians and cyclists by keeping away from the edge of the road where water will pool.
Water on the road can increase braking distances, so leave plenty of room between yourself and the car in front, and brake in plenty of time.
Use dipped headlights if visibility is poor.
Never drive through moving floodwater unless you can see the ground through it – and even then not if it’s more than a few inches deep.
If you break down in a downpour, don't leave the bonnet open while you wait for help, or soaked electrics will add to your troubles.
Use the windscreen demister – rain will quickly make the screen fog-up on the inside.
You should not use cruise control in heavy rain, as it may cause your car to over-accelerate on slippy roads.
If your tyres lose their contact with the road so you’re effectively “floating” on the water (known as “aquaplaning”), with no steering or braking control, and you feel the steering suddenly become lighter, ease off on the accelerator.
Ice and high winds have one thing in common – you can’t see them. With high winds, it’s sudden gusts which cause problems if they catch you unawares, so drive at a speed where you have good control. Keep a firm hold on the wheel and you’ll be ready for the effect on handling and braking.
Wind will be worst in exposed areas, so if you can take an alternate route you should. You should also be careful when overtaking high-sided vehicles, as there may be a sudden gust when you get past. And don’t forget that lorries, buses, motorcyclists and cyclists will all be more affected than you, so give them a wide berth if you can.
Statistically, fog is the most dangerous driving condition there is. Before you set off, check all your lights are working properly – you’ll need them!
Use your windscreen wipers intermittently. There’s moisture in the air and it’ll gather on your windscreen. Check your rear-view mirror before you slow down or stop - someone may be too close behind you.
Fog can be patchy. If it gets thicker, drive more slowly. If you can see less than the length of a football pitch use dipped headlights.
Also, if you can’t see very far, you may need to rely more on your ears more than your eyes. At junctions or crossroads, wind your window down to listen for approaching traffic. Or if visibility is very bad, simply find a safe place to park until the fog lifts. It’s better to be late than not to get there at all.
Switch off your fog lights when the fog clears.
If the noise of your tyres on the road suddenly stops, it’s a good indicator you’re driving on ice.
Check your wipers are off before you start the engine. If they’re frozen to the windscreen you could burn out the motor.
If the engine won’t start, use five-second bursts on the starter with 30-second rests for the battery to recover.
Never pour hot or boiling water onto your windscreen – it may crack the glass. De-icer is best, lukewarm water at a pinch.
Just because it’s cold, don’t have your car heater on too high – it can make you drowsy.
If your car has a temperature gauge, use it. It can be an early warning of ice on the road.
We can help you guard against ice, snow, rain and fog with a comprehensive ŠKODA Winter Health Check for a cool £25.
Winter Tyres are the safest option between October and March, when temperatures rarely rise above 7°C. Find out why.
Find out how to care for your ŠKODA this winter.
Winter Tyres are the safest option between October and March, when temperatures rarely rise above 7°C.
You easily can book your ŠKODA in for a service or order accessory fittings.
Retailers not participating in Winter Health Check are Winner Garage Ltd, Grey Gables Garage, Carrs ŠKODA (Bridgwater), Arbury ŠKODA, Pulman, Trans City Car Centre Ltd, Hayes Garage, Pulman ŠKODA (Sunderland), Euro ŠKODA (Brighton), Lookers ŠKODA (Eccles), Wings Of Peterborough and Furrows ŠKODA (Oswestry).
© ŠKODA AUTO a.s. 2018