It’s no secret that in those cold winter months as the holidays are fast approaching that there are more and more drivers out flooding the streets and highways with traffic. It’s more important than ever during these winter months that your vehicle be well tuned, adjusted and ready for whatever effects the dropping temperatures and harsh conditions can have on your car. These are just some of the steps that you should take to prepare your car for winter and to ensure your safety out in that crazy holiday season traffic.
Tips to prepare your car for winter
Replace Your Vehicle’s Coolant– Ideally your vehicle’s mixture of antifreeze and water is about 50/50, in the colder months you want to be on top of this to ensure that it stays close to this ratio. Should there be more water, there is a higher likelihood that the fluid may actually freeze inside the cooling system and your vehicle’s cold weather performance can be drastically affected.
Check and Replace Windshield Wiper Blades and Fluid– If your windshield wipers look worn out or are older than a year, replace them prior to the winter months where rain can make it harder to see. It’s also important to replace the washer fluid as well; using a cold-weather specific fluid will make sure that it doesn’t freeze in the cold winter temperatures. Any obstructions to your windshield will make driving increasingly hard and dangerous for you and other drivers so it’s important to plan ahead.
Check Your Car’s Battery– Extreme cold can actually reduce the power of your battery by up to 50 percent so if your battery is older than 4 years it may be smart to replace your battery before the winter. At the same time, have your battery tested to determine its’ ability to hold a charge as well.
Check Your Tires– The cold can have drastic effects on your tires as well; the cold will reduce the tire pressure, which will affect your handling and grip on the road. Also check the tread life of your tires because bald tires will be extremely dangerous on slick roads, having control of your vehicle while on wet and slick roads will go a long way to preserving your safety.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle– Sometimes all the planning and preparation in the world can’t help you avoid some type of incident out on the road. Keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your car will help you stay prepared in the event of an incident. Some things to consider including in your kit are a flashlight and first-aid kit, jumper tables, a blanket and warm clothes, a snowbrush or ice scraper and extra windshield wiper fluid. While having these items won’t prevent any accident from occurring, it will greatly help keep you prepared and will help you repair the issue and get back on the road as fast as possible.
Check Your Heater and Defroster– It can be near impossible to see in the mornings without relying on your defroster if your window is covered in early morning ice and frost, the defroster along with the heater are practically necessities for surviving the cold while on you’re commute so be sure to have those checked prior to the start of winter. A heater blowing cold air and fogged up windows will do nothing but dampen your holiday season and make each commute practically unbearable.
Get Your Vehicle a Tune-Up– A full tune-up by a professional mechanic will go a long way to finding all the little fixes that must be made to improve and maintain your vehicle’s performance in the winter. Whether it’s a fluid check or tire pressure check or even just ensuring the different creature comforts are operational, having your car inspected each year is the best way to prevent unexpected incidents or failures on the road.
With so much to do throughout the winter months it can be hard to remember just how much you rely on your vehicle until something goes wrong. By following these and other easy fixes and adjustments, you’ll be able to keep your car in perfect condition and will be able to stay warm and comfortable throughout the cold and harsh winter months.