Winter will be here before you know it. Here’s how you can get ready.
Not a big deal if you’re lucky enough to live in a warm place. But if you’re in a cold climate or if you’re planning on visiting friends or family in a snowy region, these tips will help you travel winter roads with more ease.
WHAT TO CHECK:
CHANGE IS GOOD
If it’s time for your vehicle’s maintenance checkup, don’t procrastinate – have it done! It’s important to use oil with the right viscosity when having it changed. Your owner’s manual can tell you which oil is correct for your climate and temperature range.
BE SURE YOU CAN SEE
If you haven’t changed your windshield wiper blades in a while, now is a good time to do that too. A good rule of thumb is to change them once a year. And while you’re at it, it’s also a great time to top off the windshield washer reservoir with washer fluid. Also check to make sure your defroster and heater are both working properly. This will help keep your windows clear when the weather gets nasty.
CHECK YOUR TREADS
If you’ll be using your regular (non-snow) tires in the winter, be sure they have plenty of wear left on them. A simple test is to take a penny and insert it into the groove with Abe’s head facing down. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires. Make sure to have them rotated regularly.
TIRE PRESSURE IS IMPORTANT
They’ll need to be properly inflated to deliver the best traction. The air pressure in your tires drops when the weather gets colder – it tends to lose one pound per square inch when the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
BATTERY CHECKUP IS ESSENTIAL
Check to see if your battery’s posts and connections are corrosive-free and that it’s full of water. If the battery is over three years old, you should have it tested to make sure it holds a charge.
HAVE YOUR BELTS & HOSES INSPECTED
When you have full-service maintenance performed on your vehicle, have the belts and hoses checked for wear and tear – cold weather can take its toll on them.
THE RIGHT ANTIFREEZE MIXTURE MATTERS
A 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in your radiator is ideal. This will prevent it from freezing, even when it gets bone-chillingly cold. Have the ratio checked when you’re in for your maintenance checkup.
DOES YOUR VEHICLE HAVE FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE?
If it does, have the status of the four-wheel-drive system checked to ensure it’s working properly. The system should engage and disengage easily and it’s important that every driver in your household knows how and when to activate it.
KEEP YOUR GAS TANK FULL
It’s important to not let your gas tank get down to empty, especially in the winter. Cold weather can cause condensation to form, which can make its way to the fuel lines. In cold weather, it can freeze and block the gas flow to the engine.
HAVE WINTER TOOLS ON HAND
Pack an ice scraper, booster cables and extra gloves in your vehicle. If you get a ton of snow, a shovel is also a good thing to have. A bag of kitty litter is great for improving traction on the ground if you get stuck.
KEEP A DE-ICER ON HAND
Car doors tend to freeze shut during the winter. So having a de-icer handy will get you out of a lot of jams during inclement weather.