We all know that the with the winter months almost here. We thought we would share some of the important aspects of getting your car ready for the cold and the snow that will be here soon. Whether you’re simply going to work, or driving in the mountains on the way to a ski resort for a fun weekend, your car will need to be able to get you and your loved ones there safe. Make it a priority now to get prepared so that you won’t have to stress while you’re driving in the winter this year. Follow some of these fundamental recommendations – they could literally be life-saving!
Inspect or Change Your Tires
It is common for the air pressure in your tires to have dropped due to the cold temperatures outside. Refer to your owner’s manual to know what the target tire pressure should be. Tires that are properly inflated give you the best possible traction on the road, which is even more important during the winter time. Your handling also will be decreased if your tires do not have a lot of tread left on them. If you live in a place that has a lot of hills and typically gets a lot of snow, you may want to consider switching to snow tires. Or you could choose to purchase all-season tires.
Check Your Oil
Your oil tends to thicken as the temperature gets lower. It will not be as effective in lubricating your engine if it becomes too thick. You may think about using a thinner oil in the winter to keep your oil at the right viscosity, or thickness. Your owner’s manual is useful in this situation, or you can talk to the technicians the next time you get your oil changed.
It is common for cars in this part of the mountain west to have four-wheel drive. For those people, we recommend making sure that it is working the way it should be. The system should engage and disengage easily. We also recommend making sure all the people that may potentially drive that vehicle know how to activate the four-wheel drive system.
Get Windshield Wipers That Work
Can’t remember the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? You might consider investing in new ones for this winter if your current blades are not effective. You also should check the level of your windshield washer fluid. We advise getting washer fluid with an antifreeze solution in it to help out on those cold mornings. Using water will not work well in the winter because it will just freeze on your windshield. Along those same lines, check to ensure your defroster and heater are working properly so that your windshield stays clear. You might want to check for air leaks around windows and doors. Keep out the extra moisture and cold in the winter months ahead!
How Is Your Battery?
This time of year is ideal for inspecting your battery. Your battery capacity is reduced when the weather gets cold. You engine needs more current from the battery in order to start, so make sure your battery is functioning properly. You may want to have your local repair shop test its ability to hold a charge if you battery is more than three years old. Also, check for cracks and breaks in the battery cables, as well as other belts and hoses under your hood.
Have An Emergency Kit
We think it is important to always have an emergency kit in your car, but to especially have on during the winter months. You never know what will happen while you are driving, so it is wise to keep an emergency kit in your trunk just in case of an unexpected turn of events. You can include items such as: flares, snacks, washer fluid, cell phone charger, coolant, sand or kitty litter, small shovel, flashlight, blanks, boots, engine oil, etc. And don’t forget to make sure your spare tire is in good shape and that you have the required tools to change it out if you need to.
Other Tips and Tricks
A good thing to remember is to be mindful of how much gas you have in your gas tank. You never really know what the weather or circumstances may be like, so we suggest keeping your gas tank at least ¼ to ½ full at all times. Also, check to see that all of your lights and light bulbs are working properly. This will ensure that you can see well, and that other vehicles on the road will be able to see you if there is poor visibility. If your door is frozen shut and you’re not at home to use your own warm water, try to find a nearby store that sells glycerine that can be used for de-icing.
We hope that some of these suggestions will help you not only in the winter months, but all year round. Plains Tire is here to assist you in any way that we can. When you actually take the time to properly winterize your car, you can have the comfort and peace of mind while you’re driving in the cold and the snow. You can’t expect your car to function perfectly if you don’t give it the attention that it needs. Plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is safe and reliable this winter!