Ex-Pat News

Get your car ready for the winter

Driving in the Alps has it’s obvious hazards, especially when a snow dump or cold snap takes you by surprise.  Here’s a list of things you can do NOW to make sure your motor is both safe AND legal this winter season.

ENGINE

– Check all the fluid levels in your vehicle before the winter starts. In France anti-freeze is sold pre-mixed so there is no need to dilute it. Top up your screen wash too.

– If you’re in any doubt about your batteries performance, replace it now!

– If you have a diesel engine, you should pre-heat it at least three times on very cold mornings, and also when you return to you car after a day skiing.

TYRES

– Snow tyres on cars should have a minimum tread of 3mm to be effective, Minibuses will need a minimum of 44m of tread.

– For your snow tyres to be legal in France, they should all be the same make, model and tread pattern.

– If your snow tyres have been in storage for the last 6 months, check them to make sure there are no bulges or cuts in the tyres before you fit them.

– Make sure your spare tyre is a usable snow tyre too!

LIGHTS

– Make sure that all of your vehicle lights work correctly and that there are no light bulbs out.

– If your car was first registered in the UK you’ll need to apply beam deflectors to your headlamps when driving in France. This is a legal requirement!

BREAKS / STEERING

– If you have any doubts on either, get them checked out before winter arrives.

– Break pipes can get rusty very quickly in the mountains and hand breaks can seize. Give your break callipers a good jet wash regularly during the season.

OTHER TIPS!

– Check your windscreen for chips – they’ll crack with a severe frost

– Change your wiper blades in November and remember to pull them off the glass at night to prevent them from sticking to the windscreen

– Lubricate the door hinges and locks on your car

– If you’ve got any corrosion on your car, have it treated now

– Check that your seat belts and it’s fastenings work correctly

– If you’re not using snow tyres you should always carry a set of snow chains

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