Winter is coming…
The winter season is the harshest for your vehicle, between the freezing temperatures, snow, and ice there are plenty of factors to look out for. Here are some helpful tips to try to be better prepared on the road during these long winter months.
- Prepare Early
Pay attention to the weather forecasts. In some areas it can start snowing as early as October so you want to make sure you are ready for the first snowfall. Start your prep in the fall that way you aren’t outside in the freezing cold just beginning your prep.
- Test Your Battery
Cold weather can reduce your battery capacity resulting in a dead battery. It is important to do a thorough inspection of your battery and cables to make sure they are free from corrosion and cracks. If you cannot do the inspection take it to a mechanic you trust. It might be a good idea to have jumper cables or a jump pack on hand in case you (or someone you encounter) need a jumpstart.
- Check Your Fluids
Make sure all of the fluids in your car are new and/or full. If you live in an area where temperatures fall below freezing, this is especially important. Make sure you have the proper coolant to prevent any fluid from freezing in your radiator. Draining your radiator and refilling it with new antifreeze should be done once a year anyway, so this is the perfect time. Freeze-resistant wiper fluid can help keep your windshield clean especially when visibility is already low. It is important to keep a full, or nearly full, reservoir of wiper fluid. Just like the wiper fluid, it is very important to keep a full gas tank to prevent your gas line from freezing. It could also help if you end up stranded and need to run your car for heat. Lastly, don’t forget to keep up with getting your oil changed. Some oils thicken up when it gets colder so check with your mechanic about switching to a thinner oil.
- Inspect Your Tires
Having the proper tires can make a world of difference when it comes to driving on wintery roads. Snow tires are recommended for anyone that lives in an area with a large amount of snowfall to increase traction. You can even find winter tires with studs for an added level of traction and safety, however these tires are heavier and can reduce fuel efficiency. The rubber in non-winter tires harden, making it difficult for the tire to grip the road. Winter tires have special compounds that resist hardening, allowing more traction. All season tires, while not as good as snow tires, are able to run in the winter.It is important to check tire pressure regularly because it can drop when the temperature gets colder. Tires with low air pressure do not have the proper traction to safely drive on snowy or icy roads. Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI. The door frame on the drivers side and the owner’s manual will tell you the proper PSI your tires should have.
- Make Sure Everything is in Good Working Order
Check your headlights and brake lights. This is very important when there is heavy fog or snow. Your lights might be the only way other cars know you are around. Clean your lights regularly too. Dirt can build up on the light which makes them look dim and hard to see to oncoming traffic.Make sure there aren’t any cracks in the windshield. The cold temperatures can make them worse. It would be safer to replace the windshield before the winter than after it has busted.Windshield wipers and defrosters should be in good working order to ensure your visibility is at its highest. Make sure both the front and back defrosters are working. Special winter wipers can be purchased that prevents ice from building up on them.
Following these tips should help you stay safe on the road in the winter time.