When the temperature drops and the chances of snow are high, your vehicle should be winterized.
The value of winterizing your car or truck translates to a safer driving experience in snow and icy conditions.
Let’s cover 8 ways you can be prepared this winter with tires, and other aspects of your vehicle.
1. Replace Windshield Wipers
Visibility through your windshield can be difficult in extremely cold conditions.
For this reason windshield wipers takes the top spot in the first step to winterizing your car.
First check for signs of wear on your wipers. If you see rubber that is cracked or worn off, it’s time to replace them.
Additionally, check for streaks on your windshield while the wipers are in operation.
If you have water that is not cleared away from the main area of coverage then that is a problem.
Make the adjustments to the wipers, or simply replace them and get new ones.
2. Get Winter Tires
This is going to be an expense, but well worth it when you start turning on slippery surfaces.
Winter tires make a huge difference compared to touring and summer tires.
Do you currently have All-Season tires?
You may want to make sure they are properly rated for snow.
Most people don’t realize that All-Season tires can even be terrible to drive on during serious snow and icy road conditions.
Once winter is over, make sure that you switch back to an All-Season or Summer tire. If you do not, you can do serious damage. This is because the tread compounds on snow tires is much softer and made for very low temperatures which hardens those tires for the environment.
So if you are driving on a ultra-soft tire in the summer months, you will destroy the tread on them very quickly and they will become useless for the next winter season.
3. Check Tire Pressure Regularly
Every time the temperature drops or rises, your tire pressure is affected.
Keep tabs on the weather and see if there is a drastic rise or decrease in temperature from one day to the next.
Before you even think about starting the engine up, check your tire pressure and maintain proper recommended PSI.
4. Check Battery Levels
Cold temperatures are not a friend of your vehicles battery.
In fact, the ability for your battery to start your car is drastically reduced once temperatures drop below 0 degrees.
One of the best ways to combat this is to keep up with the fluid on your battery.
Check your owners manual first as instructions may vary from one vehicle to another on this.
Before the first cold snap arrives, take your battery to an automotive parts shop and have it tested for charge (Most will do it for free).
If it needs to be replaced, it’s better you do so then instead of waiting for a cold day when your car wont start.
5. Replace Engine Oil
If you haven’t had an oil change in a while, then it’s likely the oil sitting in your car is thick.
Over time, debris in oil accumulates and viscosity decreases, making your vehicle run harder.
During cold weather, oil gets even thicker and can put additional stress on a vehicle if it is not clean and the proper weight.
Just remember this…
The lower the number is next to the “W” on the oil container, the better the oil will perform in winter.
6. Keep Gas Tank Filled
Gas lines are important during the winter. Especially because you don’t want them to freeze.
To better ensure this doesn’t happen, keep your gas tank at least half full all the time.
Don’t drive around til you get towards empty. Fill the tank frequently.
This helps with keeping condensation out of your gas lines so they don’t freeze up.
7. Lubricate Doors And Trunks
When ice forms over and inside certain surfaces, getting a door open or a lock turned can be challenging.
Get a lubrication for locks and door hinges ahead of time.
You can find a silicone spray or other anti-freezing product on Amazon, or at your local parts store.
8. Keep A Safety Kit Handy
You should always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Having a safety kit with the following items in your vehicle at all times will prepare you for the unexpected.
Always have these on hand:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Pack of Matches
- Jumper Cables
- Extra Antifreeze
- Ice Scraper
- Additional Warm clothing
- Extra Non-perishable Food & Water
Some Final Thoughts
Everything we have covered in the above points are practical and important to safety.
If you want to take things a step further, creating additional plans of action for your family can be valuable.
Mental preparation can be just as important than physically preparing.
We wish you a safe and happy winter!