Prepping your vehicle for winter isn’t just for folks living north of the 45th Parallel. With extreme freezing events happening all over North America, making sure your car is ready for cold weather is crucial.
Here are our top 5 tips for making sure your car is ready to face whatever Mother Nature unleashes this winter.
#1: Check and Clean Your Battery Before Winter Hits
Nothing will get your day off to a crummy start like getting behind the wheel and turning the key only to find your car unresponsive. Before that happens, make sure you test your battery to ensure that it’s able to power all your vehicle’s important safety systems. Many auto parts stores will test your battery for free, or you can get a kit to test it at home.
Check the battery posts for corrosion. If you find residue, disconnect the cables and use a wire brush to clear away debris.
#2: Check Your Tires Frequently
It’s not just your battery that goes flat when the temperature drops. Even in balmy weather, tires lose pressure over time, but during the winter, they deflate at an accelerated pace. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, your tires lose 1-2 PSI. They may regain pressure after a cold snap, but you should be checking them at least every 2 weeks (and before you drive it anywhere).
If you’re in an area that gets a lot of snow, or you’re in a neighborhood that doesn’t get plowed or sanded, consider installing a set of winter tires.
#3: Don’t Put Off Your Oil Change in the Winter Time
Cold starts and condensation wreak havoc on motor oil. Having new filters and fresh oil will keep your vehicle running smoothly all winter.
Chances are good that the shop you take your vehicle to for an oil change will also check your coolant, brake, steering, and transmission fluids. If it’s been a while since you’ve had systems flushed and fluids replaced, it may be time to add that to your maintenance checklist.
#4: Consider Switching to Winter Windshield Wipers
Visibility is critical when you’re driving, no matter the season. Regular blades can get frozen to your windshield or packed down with snow. Of course, you could run outside and raise the wiper arm to prevent sticking, but you could save yourself the shivering chore by installing winter wiper blades. They’re made to prevent sticking from snow and ice.
#5: Fill ‘er Up
Keep your gas tank as full as possible throughout the winter. A full tank is better for traction than throwing your back out lifting a sack of cement into your trunk. And you’ll be relieved to have plenty of fuel in the tank if you and your family get slowed down by a sudden snowstorm.
Keeping your tank at least half-full also helps prevent condensation in your fuel lines which could freeze.
Investing a Little Now Can Save a Lot of Money and Time Later in the Winter
Now is also a good time to lube your latches and locks and check your survival kit to be sure you’ve got winter gear, including shovels, fix-a-flat, blankets, and extra gloves.
Preparing for the cold winter months can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by keeping your car in great shape, helping you avoid accidents, and keeping you safe if you do get stranded.
If you aren’t one who likes to take care of maintenance yourself. There are several places you can take your vehicle to get proper car service that can help you winterize your vehicle.