Most of us may feel that preparing for winter is an overwhelming task. We prepare our homes with extra insulation, seal up drafty spots, and wear warmer winter clothes to protect us from the elements. If you do all of this for your humble abode, why wouldn’t you do the same for your car?
Make sure your vehicle is as protected as you and your home are this winter. Spending the extra time and effort to get your vehicle properly prepared for winter conditions will save you money – and could prevent you from injuries in an accident.
Before cold, wet, and winter-driving conditions are upon us, take precautions:
- Take your car to a certified mechanic and check out the following: battery, radiator fluid levels, and protection temperature of your anti-freeze in your system, brakes, hoses, and belts.
- Make a visual inspection of your vehicle lights. Make sure the front and rear lights are operational, paying particular attention to the car’s flashing hazard lights.
- Change your wiper fluid so it doesn’t freeze. Instead of waiting until spring, exchange the fluid with one made especially for protection during freezing conditions.
- Purchase winter wiper blades to cut through snow and ice instead of using summer blades throughout the year.
- Make sure your heater, defroster, and rear-window defroster are working properly.
- Check the spray nozzles of your windshield-washer system. They can get blocked by wax or debris, which can be cleared with a needle or pin.
- Carry emergency equipment in your vehicle, including jumper cables, a snow/ice scraper, a flashlight, a fresh supply of extra batteries, flares, a shovel, first-aid kit, basic hand tools, blankets and, if at all possible, a cell phone, and car charger in case of a breakdown or other emergency. Matches, extra clothes, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks in your truck/storage area will complete your emergency kit.
- Don’t forget to keep plenty of gas and windshield washer fluid in your vehicle. Keep your gas tank at least half full in the cold season. This will reduce condensation in your tank and fuel system and make your vehicle easier to start when cold.
- Clean the snow and ice off of your entire vehicle each time you drive for maximum visibility and safety. This includes not just the windows, but also the mirrors, head/tail lights and your hood and roof. The extra time spent is far better than dealing with an accident or damage to a vehicle due to poor visibility. If you take good care of your vehicle before the winter season arrives, your vehicle will take great care of you all winter long and help keep you safe.
Once last piece of advice: always check the road conditions before driving away so you are prepared for what lies ahead.
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