Why You Should Winterize Your Vehicle
After living in Georgia for ten years, we are used to mild winters. Snow is rare as temperatures barely go below freezing. Because of this, when snow should happen the city shuts down. Noone goes to work or school. Everyone is told to stay off the roads so your car doesn’t get covered in salt and slug that colder states often face.
Now that we are back here in New England winter’s are cold and full of snow. In addition to preparing ourselves with warm coats, gloves, boots, and hats; we need to prepare our vehicles too.
Modern cars don’t require the detailed tacks that cars of the past did, as they are designed to start in cold weather. Gone are the days of having to let your car warm up. But winter driving conditions can be hazardous due to factors such as snow and ice on the road and it’s best to make sure your car can handle these conditions and ensure your car will run well throughout the winter.
Ways to Winterize Your Car
Check your battery. Cold weather is tough on your car’s battery so have a mechanic run a load test which will let you know if it needs to be replaced and check for corrosion that may be on the connections.
Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid. Most wiper blades only last a year and should be replaced annually. This is the perfect time to update as if you have ever driven on snow covered roads you know how quickly your windshield can be full of kicked up salt. I’ve always gone through a lot of wiper fluid in winter as constantly needed to clean my windshield to be able to see. Just be sure to fill with a brand that withstands freezing temperatures are you’ll have frozen wipers.
Consider getting snow tires. Most all-season tires are made for winter use too, but snow tires are your best bet. The difference is the rubber is softer and the tread is designed to grip snow and ice better.
Check your tire pressure. This time of year serves as a reminder that a drop in tire inflation pressures corresponds with the falling thermometer readings. Goodyear experts explain that air pressure in a tire typically goes down 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.
Check your anti-freeze mixture. The mixture of anti-freeze and water in your radiator should be about 50:50. This will prevent the coolant in your radiator from freezing.
Change the oil The colder it is outside, the thicker the oil gets, and thick oil doesn’t circulate through your engine as easily as thin oil. Consequently, your engine doesn’t get the lubrication it needs during start-up and you’re left with a car that won’t start.
Check your belts and hoses. Cold temps can weaken the belts and hoses that help make your engine run. Check them for any signs of wear and tear and have them replaced if needed.
Check your four-wheel drive. If you have Four-wheel drive, it can provide better traction when driving on snowy and icy roads. You want to be sure the system engages smoothly and that the transmission and gear fluids are at their correct level.
Many of the above-mentioned tips can be done as do-it-yourself repairs to help save money. For tips and parts, check out cars.com.
It’s always good to be prepared. Even if you take all the steps above, things can happen and if you break down it could be awhile for a tow truck especially if a blizzard is going on outside. Emergency supplies are always a good idea to keep in your car no matter what the weather.
- Warm Blankets
- Snacks & water
- First Aid kit
- Small fire extinguisher
- Road flares
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Rags & a tarp
- Lock de-icer