When Old Man Winter comes to town, your vehicle must be up for the challenge. The last thing you want is to break down on a frigid day. Here’s how to prepare your car for the colder weather ahead.
Check Your Coolant/Antifreeze Level
Before winter kicks into full gear, be sure to check the antifreeze level. Even when outdoor temperatures are below freezing, a low level of coolant can cause your vehicle to overheat. An inadequate amount of coolant can also result in your heater performing poorly, thus making driving in cold weather a lot less comfortable. Remember, a consistently low level of coolant may indicate a leak.
Inspect and Test the Battery
Cold weather forces your car’s battery to use more energy when cranking. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have the battery inspected and tested before winter arrives. Corrosion on the terminals and loose cables can cause your vehicle to not start. If your battery has already started to weaken, don’t wait to get a new one. Although premium automotive batteries have a more expensive price tag, they are far more durable.
Maintain the Proper Tire Pressure
Lower temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop significantly. An experienced tire change technician will inform you that reduced pressure can negatively impact a car’s handling and traction. This is especially true while driving on wet pavement. Ideally, drivers should check tire pressure at least once a month. You should also consider switching to a set of winter tires. All-season tires begin to harden when temperatures drop below 42 degrees, which translates to less grip.
Pack an Emergency Kit
You never know when car trouble may occur. To be on the safe side, be sure to pack a winter safety kit. In the event that your battery fails, jumper cables will certainly come in handy. Furthermore, always bring along some non-perishable snacks and a few bottles of water. Other items to include in your winter safety kit include an extra jacket, a car tool kit, flares, a flashlight, and a book of matches.
Get New Wiper Blades
Most experts suggest installing a new set of wipers every year. The rubber blades naturally deteriorate over time. To prevent premature wear, use an ice scraper to remove any frozen precipitation before heading out.
It’s no secret that winter can be one of the most dangerous times to drive. However, preparing your vehicle for the harsh weather conditions will help keep you safe. Always make routine maintenance a top priority.
About the author:
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.