Start preparing your car for those long winter months ahead with some simple tips that will help you winterize your car the right way.
Although modern cars require much less maintenance for freezing temperatures than in days gone by, there are still a few things you can do to make sure you’re never stuck out in the cold! Here are five easy ways to winterize your vehicle and to ensure you’re prepared for anything winter throws at you!
1. Change your wiper blades and refill the wiper fluid
Good visibility is vital in any weather, but especially in wintry conditions as you’re your windshield may be pounded with sleet and snow. To prevent problems with the build-up of salt and dirt, make sure you have working windshield wipers and a good supply of wiper fluid. The last thing you need in a snowstorm is dirty streaks hampering your line of sight. You can also purchase wipers specifically designed for wintry weather if you live in a colder clime.
2. Check the tire pressure and/or consider snow tires
If you live in a place where it snows all winter, then it may be a good idea to swap your tires out for snow tires this season. Snow tires are made of a softer rubber, giving them more flexibility in rough terrain and cold temperatures. The treads are also designed to grip into snow and ice, allowing more traction than regular tires, reducing the chances of slipping and sliding. If you stick to your normal tires, make sure to check the tire pressure and ensure they’re properly inflated during these colder months. A properly inflated tire means safer traction while driving in wintry conditions.
3. Check the antifreeze mixture in your vehicle
To prevent the coolant in your radiator from freezing, there should be a 50:50 mixture of water and antifreeze in the radiator. You can purchase an anti-freeze tester at your local automotive parts store.
4. Change your oil
Your engine needs proper lubrication from oil to run properly, and cold weather is prone to reduce oil’s effectiveness. Oil thickens with drops in temperature, and won’t circulate as freely as thinner oil. This could cause problems with starting your car on a cold, frosty morning. And who wants to deal with that! To prevent this headache, winterize your car by changing the oil to a thinner variety and check your owner’s manual to find the proper viscosity (the thickness and thinness of a liquid) of oil that suits your particular model and climate.
5. Be prepared!
Lastly, always be prepared for any eventuality, especially if you live in a cold climate with long winters, by stocking your car with emergency items. Just in case you get stranded on a lonely road, keep the following list of items in your car at all times: a flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, ice scraper, first aid kit, water bottles, folding shovel, and roadside flares or a reflective triangle (to ensure you’re visible if stuck on a roadside at night.)Warm blankets are an absolute must, as are food supplies –such as granola or power bars, and an extra set of warm clothes, including socks, gloves, woolly hat, and a scarf. Ladies, who often wear heels or formal shoes, should always have a pair of sneakers or boots in the trunk, just in case!
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