Drivers urged to check for post-winter damage as research reveals 38 million could travel this Easter


Authored by Aviva

With 38 million Brits potentially set to travel this Easter, Aviva is urging motorists to check their vehicles for signs of post-winter damage. The warning comes as Aviva claims data reveals that winter weather – such as wind, snow, sleet, rain and ice – contributed towards thousands of motor claims over the last few years. 

Separate research conducted by Aviva  also reveals that some motorists are failing to carry out essential checks when maintaining their car – a legal responsibility and a condition of most car insurance policies3.

According to the data, which surveyed 2,000 Brits, millions of motorists are potentially never carrying out basic checks on their vehicle. In fact, 7%  - equating to 3 million drivers - never check their coolant levels, despite this being essential for a vehicle’s engine and preventing it from overheating:

Maintenance check type

Percentage of car/van owners surveyed who 'never' carry out this check

Potential number of car/van owners on the roads having 'never' done this type of check

Coolant levels


3 million

Oil levels


2.1 million

Tyre tread depth


1.9 million

Screen wash levels


1.6 million

Tyre pressure


1.2 million

Hazel Johnson, Director of Home and Motor claims at Aviva, comments: “It’s worrying to see that millions of Brits are failing to do basic checks on their car, particularly as our data shows that winter weather has a direct impact on vehicles and claims. 

“Maintaining your vehicle is crucial – not just for your own safety – but for those around you. As a driver, it is your legal responsibility to make sure your car is in roadworthy condition, which means carrying out essential repairs and maintenance. Failing to do so, means that you risk being unable to make a claim, and you could be putting yourself and others at risk should the worst unfortunately happen.

“Getting into the habit of checking things like oil and coolant levels is good practice – particularly as you may be travelling for longer due to road closures or traffic jams, or travelling further afield.”  

To help drivers as they prepare to travel over the Easter holidays, Fan Lamoli, Vehicle Technician at Solus, Aviva’s network of vehicle repair centres, has put together a 10-step ‘ultimate’ checklist:

  1. Check your car lights and bulbs are clean and working properly. Although days might be longer and brighter, it’s good practice to check that all your lights – such as headlights, brakes, fog, rear and indicator lights - are clean and in working order. Not only are faulty or dirty lights dangerous as they impair your vision and could cause a collision, they are also illegal and could lead to you facing a fine. If you’re unsure or not able to change them yourself, head to a mechanic or your local garage as soon as possible. 
  2. Check tyre pressure and depth. The fallout from winter can impact the state of your tyres - particularly where potholes are involved - so it’s worth taking the time to physically inspect your tyres for any damage. Keeping your tyre tread depth between 3-4mm - around the thickness of a pound coin - is recommended to improve steering and braking in your car in less favourable road conditions. It’s equally important not to over-inflate your tyres to prevent slipping and if you’ve put on snow tyres, remember to take these off in time for spring. 
  3. Check your windscreen wipers. Wiper blades can often be worn down and damaged by tough weather conditions, which is why all drivers should check they are in good working order. Windscreen wipers wipe away debris, snow, rain and more, so without them your vision could be severely impaired. Not only is it your legal responsibility to make sure you can properly see out of your windscreen, poor wiper maintenance could lead to you having a driving incident. 
  4. Inspect your windscreen for any damage or cracks caused by small stones flying onto your windscreen, which can be a distraction when driving and could impair your vision. If you find any chips, be sure to get these repaired as soon as possible to avoid any further damage. 
  5. Check oil and coolant levels, especially if you’re planning to visit friends or family further afield. Although easily done, take caution to prevent accidently mixing fluids and damaging your engine. Aviva research shows that over one fifth (22%) of people who have botched a DIY maintenance job on their car have needed professional help with fixing mishaps around topping up and checking fluids4, so if you’re ever unsure, speak to your mechanic.
  6. Check your brakes. Spring can be known for its showers and during wet weather conditions the stopping distance significantly increases, which is why it’s crucial to check that your brakes are in working order. If you notice any changes such as strange noises and find your brakes being unresponsive, head to your local garage or mechanic as soon as possible. 
  7. Never drive through flood water and take caution driving through fords or tides. After periods of heavy rain, it’s best to avoid driving through flood water where possible. It’s difficult to see how deep the water may be and you could end up becoming stranded or even swept away. Just 30cm of fast-flowing water is enough to move a car5. During bad weather, fords and tides may be higher than usual and so if you’re ever in doubt, find an alternative route or wait for the tide to lower. It only takes a small amount of water to ruin an engine, so it pays to be cautious.
  8. Check your batteries. If your car or car battery is more than five years old, it is possible that the 12v battery may be getting past its best. Spring weather can be unpredictable and a cold snap could impact a battery’s charging capability, which is why it’s good to get into the habit of checking your battery on a regular basis. If you own an electric vehicle, cold weather may also reduce the range, so bear this in mind when planning journeys and charge routines.
  9. Pack an emergency kit in case you break down. Preparation is key and handy things to keep in your car include a warning triangle, torch and batteries, mobile phone and charger, breakdown membership card and tow rope, thick cardboard, or material (for traction), outdoor clothes and sunglasses (for glare) as well as a shovel, blanket and a de-icer.
  10. Check whether your MOT is due and if so, book it in at an approved centre. In the UK, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that doesn’t have a valid MOT, other than to the MOT test centre, or to remedy issues found on a previous test. If you can’t find your certificate or can’t remember whether your MOT is due, Aviva’s MOT Checker Tool will let you know if a vehicle has an up to date MOT and when this runs out. You can also use it to check the MOT status of your vehicle or one that you’re thinking about buying.


About Aviva

Aviva Insurance Limited is one of the UK’s leading insurance companies, part of the Aviva group with 34 million customers Worldwide. Aviva Insurance has been in the insurance business for more than 300 years.

In UK commercial, the insurance market remains challenging for insurance brokers and customers, due to the ongoing economic conditions. Aviva Insurance are focusing on improving our processes to ensure Aviva provide commercial customers with insurance cover at an acceptable price. Insurance brokers also recognised our excellent customer service by voting us Insurance Times General Insurer of the Year in 2012, for the second year running. youTalk-insurance sharing Aviva insurance news and video.

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