Unless you live in the most southern part of the US, it is important to winterize your car. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can take a toll on your vehicle and potentially cause car troubles. Though the following tips will make sure your vehicle is as prepared for winter weather as it can be, your own driving behavior is just as, if not more, important. When winter weather hits, use extra caution.
It is a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car year-round but when the winter weather hits, it becomes even more important to be prepared. Items to have in your emergency kit should include:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Ice scraper and brush
- Blanket, gloves, and hat
- Small shovel
- Snacks and bottled water
- Leak-proof container of coolant
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
Service your car
Tires. Worn tires are dangerous no matter what time of year it is. Examine your tires to make sure the tread is not too worn down. If they don’t pass the quarter test, replace them. If you notice uneven wearing, have them rotated. It is also important to regularly check your tire pressure and make sure you fill them if they get too low. When the temperature drops, it is common for the pressure in your tires to drop as well (you can expect to lose 1 pound per square inch when the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit).
By maintaining your tires, you will ensure you have the best possible traction to stay safe on the road. If you live somewhere that regularly gets large amounts of snow and/or ice, it may be worthwhile to invest in snow tires. Snow tires can further increase your traction and make sure you can get where you need to be without issue.
Battery. In cooler temperatures, your car battery capacity is reduced. An inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluids will help ensure you are prepared for winter. This is best done by a professional but if you do inspect it yourself, check that there are no cracks of breaks and that the terminals fit snugly and there are no loose connections.
If your battery is older than 4 years, it is likely on borrowed time and it may be best to replace it sooner rather than later.
Fluids. Begin by checking your fluid levels. Your coolant should be filled to the maximum line and should be made up of the correct antifreeze/water mixture. Together, this will prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your manual for instructions for specific instructions on how to do this for your vehicle.
While checking your coolant levels, you will also want to make sure that you have freeze-resistant wiper fluid so you can keep your windshield clean and vision clear in below-freezing temperatures. You should also ensure your wiper blades are in good shape to combat any rain, snow, or sleet.
Before the freezing temperatures and snow hits, get a head start and winterize your car. Add to your peace of mind with the right insurance for the right price with a quote from SafeAuto.