6 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter
Winter, with it’s blustery weather and freezing temps, is the last time you want to experience car problems. To keep yourself safe and on the road, check out these six ways to prepare.
1. Check Your Tires
Take a look at your tire tread. If your tires are starting to wear down, they may have trouble maintaining traction, meaning you could slide off the road.
Experts recommend investing in a pair of winter tires, which have more sipes — cuts in the tread — than all season tires. As a result, they squeegee more water off the road and allow for better handling.
You should also keep an eye on your tire pressure. Under- or over-inflated tires can be potentially dangerous on slippery or snowy roads.
2. Look at the Battery
Car batteries tend to die more in the winter due to the increased strain of the cold weather. Oil is thickened by the cold temperatures, meaning the motor has to work harder.
To make sure you don’t get stranded, test your car’s battery at the beginning of the season. You should also look around for corrosion on the terminals. If you see something concerning, schedule an appointment with a professional.
3. Change Out Fluids
Brake fluid will get dirty in the winter. Plus, little water molecules will get in it, which isn’t good for the car. Before the temperatures drop, get fresh brake fluid that’s rated for cold weather.
You should also check the window washer fluid in your car. Some formulas are only rated for temperatures 32° Fahrenheit and up. Make sure you buy fluid that won’t freeze, or you won’t be able to clean off your windshield while driving.
4. Replace Wiper Blades
Wiper blades are essential in the winter, as dirt and debris gets kicked up off the road and onto your windows. However, this debris can also wear your wiper blades down over time.
Start off the season right with a fresh set, which you can pick up for under $20. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to install on your own.
5. Fill Up the Gas
When there’s empty space in your gas tank, moisture starts to build up, which can dilute fuel and strain your car’s pumps. If that built-up moisture freezes, the damage can become substantial. Therefore, in the wintertime, you want to keep your gas tank as full as possible.
An added benefit of a fuel tank of gas? You don’t have to worry about accidentally running out and getting stranded. It’s never fun walking to the nearest station in the freezing cold.
6. Pack Up the Trunk
Nobody wants to break down or get in an accident. However, you should always be prepared, especially when it’s cold outside.
Once the weather starts to shift, pack up your car with all of the essentials. Get a shovel and salt in case your car gets stuck in the snow or on ice. Throw in some jumper cables for if your battery gives you trouble. Add a flashlight for any time you may be stuck in the dark. Don’t forget about boots, gloves and a hat, too, to stay warm in case you can’t use your car’s heater.
Keep Your Car in Tip-Top Shape This Winter
No one wants to think about all of the things that can go wrong. However, with a little preparation, you can ensure your car — and you — stay on the road this winter.