Depending on where you reside, winter is a season that can last for what seems like forever. You may not be ready for winter, but your car needs to be. Preparing your car for cold weather ensures safety and can help increase the life of your vehicle. A mechanically sound car is essential for driving in dropping temperatures. The guidelines below are great for anyone who’ll be driving in winter weather conditions.
Here are a few things you can do yourself and if you need help, hire a professional:
- Check the coolant (antifreeze): coolant should be flushed and refilled every two years.
- Keep up on oil changes; get one every 3,000 miles during winter.
- Check your battery, exhaust system, heater, and defroster. These all need to be working properly to guarantee safety.
- Depending on where you live, snow can be unpredictable and snow tires may be a good investment. Be sure to check tire tread depth and pressure.
- Brake function and fluid also need to be checked.
- Four-wheel drive improves your tire traction on snow and ice; make sure this feature is functioning properly.
- All of the lights on your car need to be working, and in their proper positions.
- Wiper blades get a lot of use in the winter; be sure to replace them every six months.
- Try to keep your gas tank full at all times.
Keep these items in your trunk for emergency situations:
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Extra clothing and blankets
- Candle and matches
- Windshield de-icer
- Ice scraper
Most of us don’t realize how much winter weather can affect the handling of our vehicles. Dropping temperatures make ice and snow unpredictable. In order to be safe, adjust your driving to fit road conditions. Driving defensively is key and there a few things you can do to stay safe behind the wheel. Keep in mind that, steering is much more important than braking in cold weather.
- Drive slowly and carefully.
- Avoid slamming on your brakes as this will likely cause your car to slide.
- Take your foot off the gas and coast to stop when possible instead of using your brakes.
- Avoid accelerating when making a turn.
- Maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of you and watch for brake lights.
Stay safe! Spring is just around the corner!