Every year the snow comes. Every year the roads freeze. And every year, most people aren’t prepared. Winter weather creates a whole list of dangers to the daily commute. Those dangers extend from the roads into every car. Cold climates wreak havoc on your car and your emotions, so we’ve made a list of 7 simple steps to take that can help prevent those winter-weather disasters.
1 - Windshield Wipers
It’s a generally agreed upon principle that being able to see while you drive is important. There is really nothing worse than when a heavy snow comes and your wipers end up just smearing the slush around. Instead of waiting for this to happen, check your wipers now, and replace them if they are old or worn out. Wipers are fairly inexpensive, so this is a cheap way to avoid visibility headaches.
2 - Tire Performance
Get your tires checked once a month. Having the right tire pressure ensures optimal traction for those slippery sections of road. Additionally, make sure that your tires are in good shape with a safe amount of tread. Bald tires are unsafe for dry roads, so there’s no question that they are dangerous on wet ones.
If you have a smaller car and the financial means to do it, swap your regular tires out for some snow tires. Snow tires are accurately named, so having a set on your car could be a great addition to staying safe.
3 - Oil Checks
Our good friends at the DMV have listed this as the #1 tip on their list of winterizing your vehicle. Cold temperatures can have an enormous effect on oil performance inside your engine. As the thermometer drops, oil gets thicker, which makes your engine have to work that much harder to run. A fix for this could be to switch to a less viscous, or thinner, oil for the winter months. The right oil varies from car to car, so go to a local garage if you are unsure which type of oil to use. Another good resource is your car manual.
4 - Battery Checks
It’s not that uncommon to get in your car on a frigid morning only to find that the battery is dead. We’ve all felt that frustration, and it sucks. A simple way to avoid this scenario is to get your battery checked. Almost any auto parts store or garage will do this for free or for a small fee. Knowing the performance of your battery can help you prepare and avoid future problems.
Also, always, always, ALWAYS have jumper cables in your car. Even the best batteries can die when it gets too cold, and having those cables can keep the problem as an inconvenience instead of a full-blown catastrophe. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be kicking yourself when the times comes and you don’t have them.
5 - Lights
Check all the lights in your car: interior lights, gauges, and especially your external lights. Being visible to other drivers is absolutely essential during the winter months. In those blinding snowstorms, sometimes all you can see from other vehicles are the tail lights in front of you and the headlights behind you. Make sure all your lights are working properly to help keep everyone safe.
6 - Emergency Kit
It’s important to prepare for everything. That includes planning for a time when everything you prepared still fails. In those situations, the most important thing is to keep yourself as safe as possible. This includes having a flashlight, space blankets, road flares, etc. Today.com provides a great list of supplies to have in the emergency kit for your car. Remember, an emergency kit is like insurance; you never want to you use it, but you can’t afford to go without it.
7 - Car Manual
Although it was mentioned above, the car manual needs to have its own spot. Those manuals are good for more than just having something in your glove compartment. Check your manuals to see what tips and precautions to take for your specific car. Again, this is for your car. The manuals provide pages and pages of easy-to-follow instructions that can be applied to dozens of situations you will inevitably find yourself in one day.
There are certainly more than 7 steps to making your car winter-proof. These 7 are easy enough for any person to follow to help protect themselves and their cars from the cold winters. Just do some research and find out what ways you can help make your travel safer this winter.
If you’re interested in more ways to deal with snowy conditions, you can go to our homepage to find products to help clear your driveway, sidewalk, and street of ice and snow.