If you’re one of the lucky people who live in Florida, Arizona or Sunny Southern California, this post may not concern you. The rest of us however, have to deal with mother nature’s punishment…winter.
These tips can help you get through the cold months ahead.
1. Get the right kind of oil change. Are you approaching the time for a 30,000-mile full service for your vehicle? Among other things, the service should include an oil change, and the oil used should have the right viscosity for your vehicle at this time of year. You owners manual should have the right type of oil for you to use during all weather conditions.
2. Make sure you can see. Check your wiper blades. When was the last time you changed them? They only last around one year. Fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. Make sure to also check that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield clear.
3. Check your battery. During the winter months is when your battery’s connection posts get the most corrosion. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge.
4. Look at your belts and hoses. When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear. Cold weather can beat up on your belts and hoses.
5. Check your tire pressure. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive along — and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. Your owner’s manual will tell you what your target tire pressure should be.
6. Think about switching to snow tires. If you live in a hilly place that gets a lot of snow and ice then you might want to improve traction even more by investing in winter tires and using them over the next few months instead of your usual all-season tires.
7. Do you have four-wheel drive? If so, it’s important to check the status of your four-wheel-drive system and be sure it’s working correctly — especially because most drivers don’t use their 4WD systems in the pleasant summer months. Be sure that the system engages and disengages easily.
8. Get the antifreeze mixture just right. Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at very cold temperatures.
9. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:
- a blanket
- extra boots and gloves
- an extra set of warm clothes
- extra water and food, including hard candies
- an ice scraper
- a small shovel
- a flashlight
- windshield washer fluid
- windshield wipers
- jumper cables
- a tool kit
- tire chains
- a tire gauge
- a spare tire with air in it
- tire-changing equipment
- a first-aid kit
- paper towels
- a bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.
- Also, keep the gas tank as full as you can to prevent the gas lines from freezing.