Winter Guide: Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving
Winter is coming, and we bet you have already heard this one before, and not only on Game of Thrones. Do you remember how harsh winter can be? Well, that is only two months away now and it’s time to start preparing. Winter is just around the corner and this means that now is the right time to focus all of your energy on getting your car ready for winter driving.
How can you do that? Well, you can look at it like you are getting your children ready for the winter season, dressing them up in extra layers, making tea and hot chocolate, and purchasing them warm boots. Basically, something similar to this, but with your car.
The first thing you need to do is change your tires for the winter season. You do not want to drive on spring season wheels when it is snowing, because this can be really dangerous. The second thing you need to do is check your oil, transmission, tire pressure, the windshield and a lot of other stuff.
You need to remember that no matter how enjoyable it is to drive in winter, it can also be tragic if your vehicle is not 100% secure. This cannot be stressed enough, both your life and the lives of your loved ones are worth more than money, so don’t go cheap and save money on things like this.
Your car needs to be prepared for tough winter days, there is no doubt about it, but perhaps the thing that is even more important is learning how to drive in winter. Ice and snow are the things you should not play with, and you need to be prepared for every hidden danger.
Alright, now let’s get you prepared. Obviously, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm, this is not the article for you, but on the other hand, if you happen to live in a colder state, stick around, you will learn a lot of useful things.
Do Not Underestimate the Nature
You may already think, I have been living in a cold state for my entire life and there isn’t a single person who can tell me something that I don’t already know. Perhaps it is time to lose that attitude, because the tips you are going to receive will serve as a reminder of the routine but important steps you need to take to keep your car in perfect running order for the entire winter.
You may think that you do not to go that extra mile, but this is all going to change if you find yourself somewhere in the middle of nowhere, freezing with your tires stuck in the snow, no cell-phone reception and no emergency kit in your trunk. Always pack everything before you leave your home and be ready for any accidents you may encounter on the road.
Facing the Snow
There is no getting around winter, so instead of crying about it, you need to do something about it. And this is the case where proper preparation will do the trick. The changing of the seasons is a great opportunity to do a complete check of your vehicle and see what your car needs to face the cold, wet, snowy or slippery winter roads.
We strongly recommend that you do this before the snow falls, because if you ignore some minor problems, and simply leave them for later, they might get worse and cause you serious problems when the temperature drops. If you don’t want to be caught by surprise, take a good look at the tips we are about to elaborate on, as they will help you keep your car in good condition all winter long.
Check and Change Everything
You need to take your car to a local mechanic and make sure to choose one that works with the best auto repair software, to check the battery, antifreeze levels, brakes thermostat, the heater and defroster. If your batter is three years old, the mechanic needs to test its ability to hold a charge.
After that you need to change the oil, because the oil must have the right thickness for the winter season. Oil tends to get thicker in cold weather, and this is not good for the engine, because everything needs to be lubricated in order to work properly.
The next thing on your list needs to be checking if the tires on your car have good threads, and if they are worn, you need to replace them. The best thing you can do here is to install a new set of snow tires which have threads with better traction and are suited for the winter roads.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is if everything is okay with the lights on your vehicle. It is important to make sure that all the lights are in working order.
Windshield and Antifreeze
We suppose that you are already aware that during the winter, the windshield wiper fluid can freeze. This is where you should not get greedy, so got to the local store and purchase fluid especially made for tough winter conditions. This is not an expensive item, so there is no need to worry about this. You should also get winter wiper blades that will be able to cut through ice and snow.
The most important thing here is to have the right mix of antifreeze. It would be best to have a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the car’s radiator. This is because this way you will freeze-prove it even in the coldest days of winter.
So, to check the balance of the mixture, drive to the nearest auto parts store and have it tested. If by any chance the balance is off, drain and refill your cooling system; you can do it by yourself, but if you believe that you don’t have the right skills, leave it to the professionals.
Essentials to Pack
If you by any chance get into an accident, you could end up stuck somewhere on the side of the road, so packing the essentials in your vehicle will keep you safe and ready for any accident that may come your way. Your gas tank needs to be at least half full in winter, because this will reduce condensation and your car will start easily every morning.
Your smartphone needs to be fully charged before you leave, and ideally, you will have a charger with you in the car so that you don’t have to worry about your battery dying. Do not forget to pack an ice and snow scraper and a shovel, and a first aid kit is something that is an absolute necessity. In the end, supplement your essentials with things like a set of batteries, extra clothes, a flashlight, matches, blankets, snacks and last but not the least, water.
Better Late Than Never
If your car has rear-wheel drive, it is a good idea to have a bag of sand with you, so that you can create traction under the tires if the vehicle gets stuck. The engine is the heaviest part of your car, and if it is rear wheel drive instead front wheel drive, it can slide on snow and ice covered roads. It is very important to clean your car of snow every time you are going somewhere. Taillights, headlights and the roof. It may seem like too much time to waste, but it is better to be late then get into an accident.
Let someone know the route you will be taking, so if you by any chance get into an accident, your loved ones can notify the authorities where they should search for you in case of an accident. Also, the thing you need to remember is that bridges freeze harder than concrete roads, do not speed up when you are approaching them. Stay away from big trucks, because they require more distance to stop when they hit the brakes. And always keep your lights on when you are driving through snow; you need to see and be seen.
This is it, our winter guide to winter misfortunes. The most important thing here is to be safe and not overlooking even the minor details, because we cannot stress enough how important this is. Read this guide carefully once again, make a checklist of everything you need to change, check and prepare to be sure you are ready when the temperature drops and the first snow falls.