Winter brings beautiful scenery of snow-covered landscapes, but it also brings freezing temperatures and unsafe driving conditions. Prepare to handle any conditions the season brings by having your car ready for winter.
How to Prepare Your Car for the Winter
There are a few things you should do to prepare your car for winter driving conditions. This includes things like doing preventative maintenance, making sure your battery is in good condition, and putting on snow tires. Complete this checklist to make sure your car is ready for the upcoming winter.
Check Your Fluids
Check your maintenance schedule and see if your oil needs to be changed before winter arrives. Dirty oil is thicker, which may have a harder time flowing through your engine when it is below freezing. The higher viscosity of fresh oil will only help your engine run better. Make sure you are using wiper fluid and coolant that are temperature rated for your area, and top off both reservoirs before it gets cold out.
Monitor Your Battery
Dropping temperatures increase the strain on your car's battery. Before winter arrives, take your car to a mechanic or auto part store where they have a battery tester. The battery tester will check your battery's amps and volts to make sure they fall under acceptable ranges. If it battery is too low, it is time to upgrade to a new one, which will ensure your car starts all winter long.
Perform Tire Maintenance
Another thing to do before winter rolls around is check out your tires. Tires with bad tread can reduce your traction on snow and ice. First, check out the tread to make sure it is still in good condition. Try placing a penny between the tire treads with Abe's head facing down. If all of Abe's head shows, it's time to buy new tires. Otherwise, you are good to go.
Upgrade to Snow Tires
Snow tires improve your traction when driving on snow and ice due to their special tread and type of rubber. If you have storage space, it is a great idea to buy a set of winter tires to switch to when winter approaches. A tire shop can put them on for you in the late fall and then put your all-season tires back on in the spring.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
If you don't remember the last time you changed your wiper blades, it can't hurt to switch them out before winter. There are winter-specific wiper blades, with a blade encased in a rubber sheath. This prevents ice and snow from building up and sticking to the wiper blade, making it hard to clean the window. If your original blades are still in good condition, you can still switch to winter blades then switch back once spring arrives.
Keep an Emergency Kit
An emergency preparedness kit can be a lifesaver if you get stuck somewhere in the winter. Check this list and keep everything in your car, especially in the winter.
Battery jumper pack or jumper cables
Emergency rations of non-perishable food and water
Cell phone charger
Container of sand or cat litter for traction
Basic tool kit
Road flare or warning lights
Can of flat fix
Learn how to use every item on this list to prepare yourself if you encounter an unfortunate situation this winter.
Make It Through the Winter Safely
When your car is properly prepared for the winter, you will increase the likelihood of avoiding any wintertime car issues. Try signing up for driving lessons at IDriveSafely.com to learn new driving techniques to get you around all of the treacherous winter roads.