With winter just around the corner, it’s time to prepare our beloved cars for the season. A few simple preparations can keep winter problems to a minimum and being prepared for them when they do arise will keep you safe.
- Check your tires. It’s twelve degrees outside and your check tire pressure light comes on. You ignore it, thinking: it’s just because it’s cold out, once I drive awhile it’ll turn off. We’ve all done it. And sometimes it’s okay, it really is just cold. But sometimes it’s an indicator of a bigger issue. So before the winter snows get too heavy, get your tires checked, rotated, and balanced. If you live in an area prone to particularly nasty winter weather like ice storms, consider exchanging your summer treads for snow tires.
- Have plenty of fluids. Just like we prevent winter bugs in our bodies by drinking lots of water, our cars need extra fluids to run at optimal levels in the winter. Make sure your car is fully loaded with antifreeze, oil, and windshield washer fluid all winter long. And don’t let your gas tank get too low this time of year either.
- Check your battery. Car batteries get particularly grumpy in the chilly weather. Have your battery checked before winter begins and if it’s almost at the end of its lifespan consider having it replaced now – nobody wants to get stuck in a frozen parking lot on a winter evening with a dead battery.
- Keep it clean. Washing the car in January is no fun, but ignoring this chore can lead to big problems later on. Salt and other substances used to de-ice roads can take a toll on your vehicle if you let them sit there too long.
- Load up your trunk. Got your ice scraper, snow brush, and some salt or kitty litter ready? Know where they are before the first snow so you’ll be prepared. In addition, you’ll want to pack up an emergency kit in case you are caught in a snowstorm. Include a first aid kit, nonperishable food, a flashlight, jumper cables, water, a few blankets, gloves, pen and paper, something reflective and/or brightly colored to attach to your vehicle and call attention to it, and rain gear.