Even though it is super important to keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance year-round, it is crucial to prepare your car for winter. You may think that it might not be so bad for your car to break down on a warm spring or summer day. But trust me when I say that having to wait for a tow truck with bone chilling temperatures is no one’s idea of a good time. To avoid break downs winterize your car with these 5 easy steps to make sure your car can get you to all your destinations safely this winter.
1.) Make Sure You’re Getting Heat
Let’s start with the obvious. You don’t want to be driving a car during the winter that has a broken AC. If your heating, air conditioning, or any of the vents in your car are having problems, be sure to get them fixed before the temperatures start to drop. You might be able to fix it yourself with auto air refrigerant, but if not you will want to spend the money to get it fixed by a mechanic. Trust me, it will be worth it.
2.) Check Your Tires
Driving in bad weather can be tough with even the best snow tires.Make sure yours are in top condition to avoid accidents on the highway. Replace any worn tires and remember to put chains on your tires when you need the extra traction.
Also, check your tire pressure. As the temperature gets cold the pressure in your tires decreases, so add some extra air to your tires just in case. Low tire pressure is especially dangerous on wet, slick roads so keeping your tires filled up it vital to your safety on the road.
3.) Winterize Your Battery
Your battery takes a toll by working harder to keep the engine warm in the winter. Have your mechanic check your battery life and replace it if necessary. You’ll be happy you checked this the next time you see someone in a parking lot trying to jump-start their car while standing in a pile of snow!
If you want to check the battery yourself you’ll want to check three different things.
Check to make sure there are no cracks or breaks in the cables, and make sure they are not loose.
You’ll need a hydrometer to measure the charge on your battery. Just remember to turn off the engine before you do so.
The manufacture date
Check the manufacture date as it will help you determine when your battery will start to loose its charge. On average a car battery will last 5 to 7 years.
4.) Check The Fluids
This is an important part of car maintenance required to winterize your car that you should keep up with yearly, so make sure to take care this before it gets too cold outside. This includes checking your oil, your windshield wiper fluid, and the antifreeze in your vehicle. These can all thicken in colder weather, causing more harm than good.
If you’re due for an oil change make sure to have that completed before it gets too cold, and if you’ll be driving in temperatures below freezing consider using a thinner oil so it doesn’t freeze.
Make sure your car has the right mixture of antifreeze and water so it doesn’t freeze, and be sure it is filled to the maximum line.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
You’ll need freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield from fogging or icing over. Also consider switching out your wiper blades for winter wipers, which have rubber that keeps the ice from collecting on them.
5.) Pack An Emergency Kit
While we do our best to prepare for and avoid car problems during the winter, sometimes it’s inevitable. So when you do run into problems having an emergency kit in the trunk of your car can help. You’ll want to have an assortment of the following:
- First aid kit
- Ice scraper
- Flashlight and batteries
- Non-perishable food and water
- Jumper cables
- Phone charger
- Bag of sand or kitty litter (it can help get your tires out of snow or mud)
- Extra antifreeze
- Blanket or extra, warm clothing items such as coats
Adjust your emergency kit to your own needs as well by packing anything you think you, or your kids, may need if your car was to stall on the side of the highway during winter.
Now you can enjoy the winter months knowing you and your car are prepared.
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