Tips for Winterizing Your Car
Before the temperatures start to drop below freezing, your vehicle must be prepared to handle unexpected winter hazards. Not only the cold temperatures, but ice, snow and limited visibility also cause trouble during the winter months. Here are some practical ways to winterize your car.
Make Sure Your Battery is Healthy
The cranking power of your battery is severely affected by colder temperatures. Also, a colder engine will house the thickened oil, making it hard to turn over. Before it gets too cold, have your battery tested by a professional and replace it if recommended.
Good Visibility for Stress-Free Driving
A wiper blade that shows signs of stiffness or cracking needs to be replaced. Do not use wipers that are leaving streaks on your windshield. Use a scraper and a brush to clear the snow instead. Lift the wipers from the glass if your vehicle is parked outside. This will prevent overnight snow from freezing on the windshield.
Thanks to the mud, dirt and salt, winter months also require extensive use of windshield washers. So, it is vital to have the reservoir filled with a solution containing an antifreeze agent. Use a defroster to see through the early morning frost and ice. The defroster and heater are vital to surviving the cold weather while you are driving. You may also want to ensure that all of your car’s lights are working and are free from ice and snow.
Switch to Winter Tires
Slippery conditions are common during the winter. So protect yourself by replacing your summer or all-season tires with winter tires. They have dedicated rubber compounds and special tread patterns that provide optimum traction on slick roads. While winter tires do have a shorter tread life and produce greater road-noise, their superior safety factor is worth the compromise.
Consider having these tires mounted on inexpensive steel wheels. This way, you can easily switch between the two sets of tires. You will also save on alloy wheels that tend to get damaged from harsh winter conditions. Extreme conditions may warrant for tire chains or studded snow tires. But these options can be tough on the road surface. You may want to check their legality in your region before investing.
Check or Replace All Fluids
Check the coolant level and determine whether it is low. If so, replace it with a mix of half coolant and half water for maintaining the antifreeze capability. Also, maintain full levels of windshield wiper fluid. Consult a professional for the possibility of using a thinner oil for your vehicle during winter. You may even refer to the owner’s manual for determining the right viscosity of your oil.
Place an Emergency Kit in the Vehicle
Roadside emergencies come unannounced, and no amount of preparation can help you avoid them. A well-stocked emergency kit can help you be prepared for such circumstances. A flashlight with extra batteries, a shovel, warm blankets, a bag of sand, jumper cables, an ice scraper, first aid kit, gloves, a tool kit, and a cell phone charger must be included in your kit.
With winter approaching, your vehicle needs to be adjusted, tuned and ready for the effects of cold weather. Following these tips will assure you a safe drive in the crazy holiday traffic.