Winter is a season of holiday cheer, visiting families, and giving. Oh, and crappy driving weather. Whether you are driving to work in an ice storm or venturing to grandma’s house in a blizzard, it is important that your vehicle is already prepared for the elements. Use these 5 tips as a starting point for a checklist for winterizing your vehicle.
1. Check Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are crucial to safe driving in all types of elements in the winter. When did you last replace your wiper blades? If the answer is longer than a year ago, it’s time to get new ones again. While we’re on this topic, this is also a good time to make sure your vehicle has its windshield wiper fluid filled up. Water won’t do the trick this time of year, as it freezes once the temperature drops.
2. Service Battery
Batteries tend to be a little on the slow side in the winter months, but keeping it clean and ready to go will cut back on this. Make sure to clean your connections to avoid corrosion. If your battery is over 3 years old, it might be a good idea to take it to a local repair shop and get a full inspection. As much fun as being stuck in a snowstorm with a dead battery sounds, I’m sure you want to avoid this at all costs.
3. Check Tires
Tire pressure is important in giving your vehicle the best traction. Traction is even more important when the conditions on the road are less than desirable. Pay attention to tire pressure as the temperature drops, as cooler weather deflates tires. However, don’t over inflate your tires either! Inflating them too much can also result in a loss of traction. If you live in a very snowy climate, it may be wise to check out snow tires or invest in tire chains.
4. Break Out the Antifreeze
If you live in a region where the temperature drops consistently below freezing during the winter, it is essential that you get the mixture of coolant inside your radiator just right. Shoot for a half and half mix of antifreeze and water. This mixture is sure to protect the engine even at extremely low temperatures. If you want to check the exact amount in your mixture, there are cheap testers that are available at any auto store.
5. Pack an Emergency Kit
Although prepping your vehicle for the elements cuts down on your chances of getting stranded, anything can happen. It is important to always keep warm clothes, blankets, a small shovel, granola bars, and sand or salt to put under your tires. You can never be too prepared!
The tips above are a good place to start in ensuring that your vehicle runs smoothly in the cold winter months. This list is by no means exhaustive, as there is always regular maintenance you should be performing in accordance with your vehicle manual. Go out there and get your vehicle ready, the winter weather is on its way!
Written by Marc LaFerriere at Dents Unlimited & Toalson Glass. Marc and his expert staff are one of the leading auto repair shops Columbia, MO has to offer.