With winter comes cold weather and snow. Depending on how you feel about these two things, you are either letting out a sigh of happiness or a grunt of annoyance. While you can’t stop the snow, you can prevent vehicle-related maintenance issues from arising by being sure you are prepared for cold weather the winter brings along. Here are some tips regarding winter car maintenance for you and your family to discuss before your first snowstorm swoops in.
What to Do Before it Snows
Before the snow starts to come down regularly this winter season, there are a few things you need to do. First, if you don’t have a vehicle with four-wheel drive, be sure to swap out your normal tires for winter ones. Winter tires are even helpful during the cold weather regardless of the amount of snow you get. They will help with your vehicle’s traction and braking abilities.
You also may consider adding a source of protection for the outside of your car, such as a layer of polymer wax. You also might think about buying a cover for your car so that you can peel it off along with a layer of snow. Along with negligence, fender benders, and high-speed collisions, the weather is one of the four main causes of auto body damage. Therefore, be sure your car is being taken care of this winter. Getting your car washed every so often will help with the maintenance of the outside of your car as well. Additionally, be sure to check your car’s battery when it starts to get cold out. You don’t want your car to suddenly stop working in the middle of a storm or a trip in the cold. You can get your battery tested at an auto shop.
If you drive to work every day, you should be doing a few things each time you go out to your car so that the cold weather and snow don’t do any damage to your vehicle. First, be sure you keep your windshield wipers lifted up when you aren’t driving. This ensures that they won’t freeze to your windshield, which can be very difficult to deal with. You may even consider getting a new set of windshield wipers before the winter, as they can lose their momentum in as little as 6 months depending on how often they are utilized. Secondly, be sure you scrape off your entire windshield before you drive anywhere. Even a quick trip to the grocery store can be extremely dangerous if you can’t see where you are going. Be sure to have a pair of gloves, an ice scraper, and a snow brush in your car at all times so you are able to scrape off ice and brush off any snow before driving. You’ll be thankful you got it all when a gust of snow blows into your windshield when you are driving.
Also, be sure that your gas tank remains above the halfway point while you are driving. This ensures safety during an emergency, if your car breaks down, or if your car gets stuck in the snow. You don’t want to have to worry about getting gas in a snowstorm, either, so be aware of how much gas is in your vehicle at all times.
On a weekly basis, you should be checking a couple of things on your vehicle to be sure it runs smoothly between the cold weather and the snow. First, be sure there aren’t any cracks in the windshield. Barring an impact, cracks usually start out small, so if you catch it while it is still under 12 inches long, you can repair it yourself or with the help of a mechanic. Another aspect of your car you should check on a weekly basis is your vehicle’s tire pressure. The colder weather can lower the pressure in your tires, so be sure you are checking them weekly and putting air in them when needed. Additionally, be sure to check your vehicle’s oil levels. You can visit an auto body shop to be sure your vehicle’s oil, as well as other aspects of your vehicle, are prepared for the cold weather the winter brings.
Driving and Emergency Tips
When it comes to driving in the winter, remember that new and experienced drivers alike are on the roads. Therefore, be patient with other drivers and yourself. Drive at a slower speed when it snows, and be sure to utilize your flashers in a storm or if you think your vehicle is acting up or breaking down.
You may also want to consider obtaining a second set of keys for your vehicle. With over 16,000 home and car lockouts per day, having a second pair will surely come in handy if you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle, especially in the cold weather. Creating a survival kit for your car isn’t a bad idea, either. If you were stuck in your vehicle for any reason, surely a pair of gloves, a pair of socks, a hat, a scarf, a coat, a blanket, a flashlight, a phone charger, a shovel, and jumper cables may come in handy. You never know what may happen, so it’s better to be prepared.
With the cold winter weather comes a different way you may need to approach driving and car maintenance. Take care of your car and yourself this winter by being sure your car is safe to drive and to be prepared for the unexpected.