Winter can certainly be a harsh season for many of us living in North America. This means that it is important to take steps to get your car ready to face these cold months and avoid being left stranded. Here are five easy tips to help you prepare.
Check Your tires.
It’s important to keep an eye on your tires during winter. Check the tire pressure often and keep them aired properly. Learn how to gauge your tire tread and check it frequently. If you deal with a lot of snow and ice in your area, it’s strongly recommended to get a set of snow tires at the beginning of the season. For areas that only get an occasional snow, all season tires are sufficient. Traction is paramount during the winter, so don’t scrimp on your tires.
Maintain Antifreeze Level.
This is probably pretty obvious, but antifreeze is very important to ensure your car starts in the morning. Make a habit of checking antifreeze levels weekly or every time you stop to get gas. It’s a good idea to get your radiator serviced before freezing temps set in.
Check Your Battery.
Cold temperatures put a strain on your battery, causing it to use way more energy to run your car than during warmer months. Get your battery tested at an auto parts store or mechanic. If it’s low, you may only need to have it charged. If not, replace it before it dies completely.
Getting ready for snow and ice means extra time in the mornings getting your car ready to go. Make sure the windshield washing fluid in your reservoir is made for freezing temperatures. Now is a good time to change out your wiper blades, also. Get good quality blades made to deal with ice and snow instead of just rain. An ice scraper is also an essential winter item to keep in your car and you can almost guarantee that if you wait until that first frosty morning, every store is going to be sold out of them! It is critical to keep your windows completely clear for safety reasons.
Use the Right Oil.
The oil in your engine thickens up in low temperature. Make sure that the oil in your car is the same as recommended by the car manufacturer. Most motor oil that is found on the shelf has multiple viscosities, making it appropriate for both winter months, when it needs to be thinner, and summertime. Changing your oil on schedule will go a long way in keeping your engine running right. Remember to always change the oil filter every time you do the oil. This is also the perfect time to do any tire checks and rotations.
Along with these five tips, it’s also highly recommended that you always keep some kind of emergency kit stashed just in case you find yourself stranded. What you decide to keep in that kit will depend a lot on where you live and what roads you drive on. A driver in the city will not need the same equipment as someone who might find themselves broken down on the side of a lonely road. At the very least, it would be a good idea to keep supplies like jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, hats, gloves, scarves, and a couple of blankets available. You might decide to add on to this basic kit items such as food and water, extra batteries, and phone chargers. Always make sure you have all of the equipment necessary to change a flat tire and that your spare is in good condition and properly aired up.
Winter can be a rough season but by taking these five steps, you’ll be ahead of the game in keeping your car healthy and ready to go.