For most car owners, driving during winter is a nightmare. However, if you make preparations early enough, you can avoid all the hassles that come with it. There are many winter mornings when your car engine will not start and you might also lack enough traction in your tires to keep control of the road. Well, if you want to avoid those frustrations, here are some useful steps to help you prepare your vehicle for winter.
- Start by checking your car battery. Due to the cold weather, car batteries are often on the fritz forcing the car not to start. Well, before the cold weather hits, you should check the battery thoroughly and have a charging system ready just in case.
- Fill the cooling system with antifreeze. Every one or 2 years, you should flush out the cooling system in your car engine and refill it with antifreeze to make it easier to function during the cold weather.
- Check the wipers to make sure they are still sharp enough to clear out the snow and debris falling on your windshield. Always store some spare windshield washing solution ready just in case you have to do a rushed cleaning when the blades can’t function properly.
- Test the heater and defrosting system to make sure it’s working properly. That way, you can rest assured that you will not be stuck or stranded in your car on a cold winter night when the heater isn’t working.
- Change the oil and filter in accordance with the recommendations stated by the car manufacturer. If you live in a very cold climate, you should add winter weight oil. Don’t forget to check the air, transmission filters and fuel system to make sure everything is working as it should.
- If your car needs a tune-up, make sure it’s done before the cold weather starts. That way, you can avoid any sluggish performance, tough starts or any car idling problems.
- Check the brakes to make sure they are in a good working condition. If necessary, you should replace the brake pads. Remember, during winter, cars need exceptional braking systems in case the driver loses control on the road.
- Ask your mechanic to check your exhaust system for stability and carbon monoxide leaks. Most people store their cars in the garages during the cold weather so any leaks would fill the interior with carbon monoxide. When you turn on your car in the morning, always do so with the garage doors open to avoid inhaling the dangerous fumes.
- Before winter comes, check the tires to make sure that they have enough pressure and tread. If they need replacing, do so before the cold weather sets in to make it easier to drive around. During the entire cold season, be on the lookout for the tire pressure. Depending on your location, invest in snow tires with special treads that allow you to drive through slick roads with ease. Check all the tires including the spare one.
- Check all the lights, both interior and exterior to make sure they are working properly. In some situations, visibility during the winter season can be difficult. With working lights, you can warn other drivers and avoid dangerous accidents.
- Check your gas tank regularly to make sure it’s at least half full at all times. This will keep any moisture from accumulating in the gas lines. Also, you can always count on having enough gas for your drive in case you’re stranded on the road due to bad weather.
- As for the windows, you should buy ice paper and snow brush to make sure they are always clear and allow better visibility.
- Don’t forget other emergency supplies such as jumper cables, flares, blankets, flashlights, bottled water, first aid kit, food, candles etc. That way, when you’re stranded, you can always have enough supplies to sustain you till help comes. If possible, you can always keep some extra clothes in the car to keep you warm during the cold weather.
The AAA also has some great winter driving tips here.