It is that time of year again, British summertime officially ends dark nights and cold weather arrives with the positive being that we all had an extra hour in bed on the weekend, but to help UK motorists combat the cold winter months, HiQ the national fast-fit chain are offering motorists across Great Britain free winter safety checks along with invaluable winter tyre advice.

“Many motorists may not realise the extra demands that winter puts on drivers and their vehicles”, says Geradline McGovern, Retail Marketing Manager. “Brakes, visibility, steering and batteries are all subject to extremely heavy use and so it is vital that these key areas are fully prepared.”

HiQ have designed a comprehensive eight point winter health check to ensure that motorists do everything in their power to travel safely this winter:

1. Tyres: checking and adjusting pressures on all five tyres, including tread depth and wheel alignment

2. Battery: check battery and clean and grease terminals.

3. Windscreen: check condition of front and rear wiper blades, washers and headlamps.

4. Lights and horns: check condition of side, tail, main, dip, stop, reverse, indicators, hazard, fog and spot lights.

5. Engine: check engine oil and filter, run engine, check for leaks

6. Exhaust: Inspect and report on the condition of the exhaust

7. Fan belt: inspect fan belt and adjust if necessary

8. Coolant hose: Inspect hoses and fasteners, radiators and connections, antifreeze and check for leaks

HiQ is also advocating the use of winter tyres as temperatures begin to fall below 7oc. The market as a whole is seeing a greater awareness to winter tyres within the UK after the severe snow of early 2013 left many drivers stranded and having to abandon their cars.

"The tread compound in winter tyres contains more natural rubber to minimise the hardening effect, giving them extra grip in cold, wet and icy conditions,” continues Geraldine. “This means that with winter weather tyres you will experience significantly shorter stopping distances. Today's winter tyres are just as quiet and comfortable as normal tyres and we will be stocking them across our centres as we think they are absolutely essential when travelling safely during the inevitable freezing temperatures."