Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for Winter
Winter is almost upon us once again. As we’re having our first bouts of winter weather, it’s time to make sure our homes and vehicles are prepared to handle the cold weather ahead of us. Driving during the winter can be challenging for both the driver and the car. Cars need a little extra care to help keep you and other drivers safe on the road. If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good time to bring your car to the mechanic and have them check a few things to ensure your car is ready for the months ahead.
Cold weather can put a lot of strain on your car’s battery. Car batteries need to make a little extra effort to get your car started in cold weather, so it’s good to bring your car to a mechanic to have the battery checked to ensure it’s in good working order. Have the battery replaced if necessary.
When the roads are slick, the last thing you want is anything reducing the traction between the road and your tires even more. Make sure the treads of your tires are in good condition. Replace tires that are looking worn or have your tires replaced with winter tires.
Also check to see that your tires are properly inflated. When air becomes cold, the molecules contract, causing the air in your tires to exert less pressure. Car tires can lose pressure at a rate of up to 1 PSI for every 10 degree drop in temperature. So if you last checked your tire pressure on a hot summer day, it’s time to check them again.
Good brakes are essential for driving at any time of year, but you absolutely don’t want to be having problems with your brakes during the winter. If you notice any signs of your brakes having problems, don’t hesitate to bring your car to the mechanic.
If you’ve ever tried driving on a snowy day or when the roads are covered in slush, you know how important it is to have good windshield wiper blades. It takes enough focus to drive in those sorts of conditions, you don’t want to make it even harder by having windshield wiper blades that tend to spread messes around rather than clearing them out of the way. Windshield wiper blades should be replaced once a year. Check to see that you have enough windshield wiper fluid. Use a windshield wiper fluid with an antifreeze added to it to make sure you’re covered in extremely cold temperatures.
After using your windshield wipers, be sure to shut them off before turning the engine off and make sure they are clear of snow and ice before you start your car again. The wiper motor can burn itself out by trying to move the wipers if they are frozen to your windshield.
Have any chips or cracks in your windshield repaired as soon as you can. A chip or crack may have been small or minor in warmer weather, but if moisture gets into the crack or chip and freezes, it can cause it to grow and become a bigger problem.
Headlights are extremely important for keeping you safe for winter driving. Not only do they help you see better, they help other people see you. If your lights have been malfunctioning, have them fixed and make sure they’re nice and clean. Headlights with a buildup of dirt can lose a huge percentage of their brightness. Make sure headlights are cleared of snow before driving.
Having a functioning defroster is going to make your life a lot easier by helping to take some of the work out of keeping your windows clear.
Heating and Cooling System
Have a mechanic check your heating and cooling system to make sure there are no leaks and that you have sufficient anti-freeze.
Assemble an Emergency Kit
Don’t let yourself be caught unprepared if something unexpected happens. Make sure you have things like jumper cables, blankets, flashlights, batteries, tire chains, a bag of something to provide traction (sand, salt, cat litter), emergency flares, extra gloves, and non-perishable food in your car just in case. A sturdy snow and ice scraper should be kept in your car at all times.