Winterizing Your Cars
Winter roads can be dangerous with darker evenings and ice to contend with as a driver. Your vehicle needs to be roadworthy and in good condition to keep you and your family safe. Whether you have new or used cars, you can do lots of things to prevent breakdowns and accidents in the winter months, and your vehicle will benefit from the attention. Here’s how you can start getting your outdoor vehicle ready for winter.
Check Your Tires
You should always check your tire tread regularly, but it is essential in winter when skidding is more likely. You can check the tread depth with a coin or ask a garage to do it for you. If it is too shallow, you need to replace your tires. Most states have a 2/32-inch regulation on tire tread for commercial trucks, but the tread starts to lose its grip at 4/32 of an inch, so replacing early makes a significant difference to your safety.
Also, be sure to check the pressure in your tires regularly, as cold weather can cause them to deflate quickly. Finally, if you live in a region susceptible to snow and ice, get a set of winter tires fitted for extra grip. You may also need to carry snow chains if you drive in winter conditions, especially in the mountains.
Inspect Your Battery
Your car battery capacity decreases in cold weather, so getting it checked to prevent a breakdown is vital. When you take your car to a professional for a winter check, they should also inspect cables and battery fluid. You can also use a computerized battery tester to check the overall condition to know the voltage, the resistance, and the starter motor capability. Finally, consider a moment to clean your battery terminals, as this makes the battery work more effectively.
Change Your Oil and Antifreeze
As part of your routine winter preparations, change your oil and antifreeze. Coolant does significantly more than keeping your engine from freezing. It keeps the entire cooling system in good condition, ensures your vehicle runs well, and reduces the risk of a breakdown. Also, be sure to keep your windshield washer fluid topped up and include coolant so the water does not freeze. Windshields can get dirty quickly in winter, and you need to keep your vision clear at all times.
Check Your Lights
During summer, you probably didn’t use your headlights as much. However, once the evenings get darker and the weather worsens, you’ll need to be visible on the road and see where you are heading. Check all your lights weekly, including brakes, fog, and indicators, so you don’t drive out and find that one or more don’t work.
Protect Your Window Tracks
Freezing water can seep into window tracks and create a dragging effect when you try to open them. It can damage car windows. You can avoid this by placing dry Teflon spray lubricant on the track. As the days get frostier, you will get frozen windows.
Always carry a window scraper and some de-icer so you can clear your screen before driving away. Never head out with an obscured or partially obscured frosty window as it leads to accidents. Check your windshield for any chips or cracks and get them fixed. They can distract your vision, but in freezing weather, the glass is also more likely to shatter.
Get Winter Wipers
Along with keeping your windshield clean, getting some winter wipers will help keep the glass clear. When the snow gets onto a windshield, the wipers only partially wipe the glass clear. Winter wipers are constructed to eliminate this problem by enclosing the blade in a rubber boot and keeping the windshield clear.
If you know you are heading out into wintry weather, always go prepared. Carry a snow spade, a blanket, a flashlight, and a hot drink. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and carry a charger in the car.
Always take warm clothing, including gloves and a hat — heat is lost from the head rapidly in freezing conditions. If you get caught out, at least you have some protection from the elements. As a part of your winter preparations, check that your car heater functions effectively so you can use it to control the temperature inside the vehicle. In cold weather, you will need that warmth, especially if you have a long journey.
Getting your outdoor vehicle ready for winter is a vital part of your preparations for safe driving in the colder months of the year. By getting a checklist and making sure your car is in good working order, you will not only be a safer driver but your vehicle will be well maintained and less likely to break down. In addition, making sure you and your loved ones are safe while driving is paramount.