Brrr – there’s a chill in the air
The calendar doesn’t lie – winter is fast approaching. You get yourself ready for cold weather with warm clothes like a winter jacket and boots, but is your car ready for the snow, ice and freezing temperatures that the winter season brings?
The snow and cold of winter can adversely affect many different parts of your car. Take some time before the cold weather sets in to make sure your vehicle can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it. Follow these suggestions to get your car ready for winter driving.
Check the antifreeze
Make sure your car’s antifreeze is at the proper level. If it is running low you run the risk of having the water in your radiator freeze, preventing it from cooling your engine. Your trusted mechanic can help ensure that you have the proper mix of antifreeze to protect your engine.
Inspect your tires
Inspecting your vehicle's tires ensures that they aren’t worn which could prevent them from effectively gripping the road. If the tread wear bars are showing, it’s time to replace your tires.
Test the brakes
Make sure your vehicle's brakes are in working order. When driving in snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain, it is paramount that your brakes are up for the challenge of winter driving. Check out our article on Winter Driving and Your Brakes to learn how to check your brakes.
Have the battery checked
Cold temperatures can have a dramatic effect on your vehicle's battery. Have your mechanic test the battery to ensure that it’s ready for a long, cold winter.
Consider snow tires
If you live an area that gets a large amount of snow and ice, you might consider switching to snow tires for better performance in inclement weather. Some tire centers offer off-season storage (for a fee) of the tires you aren’t using so you don’t have to find room in your garage for a set of tires.
Inspect the wipers
Examine your windshield wipers; look for signs of wear or damage like splitting. Change them immediately if they aren’t clearing your windshield effectively. You may consider switching to a winter wiper blade – they typically have a durable cover that helps prevent slush and snow from freezing joints.
Change the wiper fluid
Switch your windshield wiper fluid to a winter version that de-ices your windshield.
Test the 4WD
If you have four-wheel drive, it’s likely been many months since you’ve had to use it. Test it to make sure that it engages and disengages properly.
Be prepared for emergencies
Besides your emergency road kit, there are some other items you should carry in your vehicle during winter. Be prepared for a winter road emergency with:
- Tire chains
- Winter jacket
- Warm boots
- Gloves and hat
- Ice scraper
- Fire starter
- Kitty litter
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.