The warmer weather is coming to an end, and we all know the weather coming our way can be brutal on the best of days. The cold is a great incentive for staying home where it’s nice and warm, but what about those days when you have to leave the house for work, prior commitments, holiday shopping or visiting friends? How can you prepare your car for the inclement weather coming so you don’t find yourself out in the cold? Here are 5 things you can easily do to prepare your car for winter.
1. Create a Winter Supply Box and Put it in Your Car
This is potentially the most crucial thing you can do when it comes to preparing for winter. Having that box full of helpful supplies can make a large difference if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road with snow piling up. This box can include things like a flashlight, warm blankets, first-aid kit, warm clothes to layer over the ones you have, gloves or mittens and some nonperishable snacks like granola bars. If you find yourself stuck these things will help you until help comes, or you’re able to move on your own.
2. Check the Antifreeze Levels
Antifreeze is an amazing substance that keeps your engine from freezing when those temperatures drop below zero. If you don’t have this, or don’t have enough of it your engine can actually freeze which means you’ll have to replace it and that’s a lot of money. You can purchase a kit for checking your antifreeze levels, or there will be information on this in your car owner’s manual. Adding more of this is simple enough if you find you’re running low.
3. Check the Tires
Good tires are always important, but they become crucial when ice builds up on the roads during the winter. Tires that don’t have sufficient tread will not be able to provide appropriate stopping ability, which could endanger you and your passengers. During this step, you’ll also want to check the pressure of your tires, and you can do so with a simple gadget available at almost all auto supply stores.
If winter is particularly bad in the region you live in you might want to strongly consider having tires specifically for winter. These tires have better traction when it comes to stopping in slippery conditions, and handle freezing temperatures better than all seasons.
4. Fill Up the Winter Windshield Washer Fluid
Not all windshield washer fluid is created equal; some brands or specific kinds designed to be used during the winter. Ordinary fluid will actually freeze upon contact with your windshield during freezing temperatures, which makes the situation worse. Winter windshield washer fluid is typically good to -40 degrees Celsius, so you can be sure you’ll be able to see everything on the roads ahead of you.
5. Get Winter Grade Oil
Due for an oil change? Then it’s perfect timing to ask your mechanic about winter grade oil. The colder the weather, the thinner you want the oil to be. The first number in the grade of your oil will dictate how vicious it is, and the lower the number the better it will be in the cold. For example, 10W-30 will not perform as well in the cold as something like 5W-30 will.
All of these are great ways to prepare your car for winter, but if you can only do one thing to prepare your car for winter you should create a supply box. Being stuck due to snow drifts, icy roads or a car that won’t start is going to be made much better if you know you have a blanket, extra warm clothes and some snacks in your car to help you survive until help arrives.
Check out some of our previous safe driving blogs.