Winter weather can put a lot of stress on your vehicle, so follow our tips below to prepare for the inclement weather. You should always check with your mechanic to make sure your vehicle is in proper working order. The manual in your vehicle should also give you information on preparing for winter or you could visit a local auto parts store and ask for assistance.
Get your fluids checked before the winter weather kicks in! The colder it is outside, the thicker the oil gets. This makes it difficult for the oil to circulate through your engine, then your engine doesn’t get the lubrication it needs to start and you’re stranded with a car that won’t start. Engine coolant is not just for keeping your engine from overheating, it also protects the engine against corrosion. The mixture of antifreeze and water in your radiator should be about 50:50 to prevent the coolant in your radiator from freezing.
Belts & Hoses
Low temperatures can weaken belts and hoses that help your engine run. Check them for wear and tear and replace any that are worn out. If a belt or hose snaps or breaks while you’re driving, you’ll be left out in the cold waiting for a tow truck to pick you up!
Most batteries last about 5 years, you can have a mechanic or local automotive store do a test of your battery to make sure it is strong enough to last through the season. You can check for any cracks or breaks and make sure the connections to the battery are tight. It may also be a good idea to keep a pair of jumper cables in your trunk to jump start your car if necessary.
You want to make sure your windshield stays clear of debris since that is the only way you can see the road in front of you. Use a windshield washer fluid that has an antifreeze solution so you can use it to de-ice your windshield in snow & ice conditions. Now’s the time to change your windshield wipers. If your wipers are ripped and torn, they won’t brush the snow and ice off your windshield.
If you force open frozen door locks, you could break your key. You can find glycerine for de-icing at a local auto parts store or hardware store. You’ll want to keep this in your garage or desk at work because it won’t help you if it’s locked in the car you can’t get into.
It’s the time of year to switch to snow tires or make sure you have all-season tires. Make sure your tires are in good shape to help you travel safely through the snow by checking the tire pressure and tread. Cold weather makes tires contract, check your vehicle’s manual for the optimal tire pressure for your car for each season. You will also get better gas mileage when your tires are properly inflated. Use a penny and place it into the tread of your tire with Lincoln’s head down but facing you. If you can see Lincoln’s whole head, you need new tires.
If you haven’t used your car’s 4WD since last winter, you need to test it out to make sure it is properly working for when you need it.
The last thing you want to happen is that you can’t stop when you need to in hazardous conditions. Visit a mechanic or check your brakes before the winter weather hits.
If your gas tank gets low, moisture can form inside and freeze your gas lines. It is recommended to keep 1/4 – 1/2 of your gas tank full during the cold weather to keep moisture from forming.
Make sure your spare tire is in good shape and find an emergency kit in a store or create your own with:
- Engine Oil
- Washer fluid
- Jumper Cables