Winter weather may be great for skiing, ice skating and sledding, but it can be damaging for your car. The risk of auto accidents goes up in the winter because of the inclement conditions. It’s always good to make sure you have enough auto insurance when winter rolls around just in case. Besides that, however, there are a number of quick and easy things you can do to winter proof your car and help prevent problems before they leave you stranded.Here are some of those things:
Have your car checked out by a mechanic and tuned-up. Make sure you get your heating and defrosting system, battery, brakes and antifreeze levels serviced or repaired as needed. Have your oil changed to one that can withstand low temperatures appropriately. Breaking down on the side of the road in the winter is a whole lot worse than breaking down in the summer.
Check your windshield wipers and washer fluid. Not being able to see through your windshield properly during a winter storm can be very hazardous and easily cause an accident. New wiper blades and a full reservoir of washer fluid can make a big difference. For long trips, it can help to take a spare bottle of washer fluid in case you run out and there is no gas station near by.
Check your tire pressure and thread. Cold air diminishes tire pressure, so you may have to a add air to your tires. If your thread is worn down, you might need to have your tires replaced to get enough traction on snow and ice. Consider getting snow tires if you live in a snowy region with a lot of hills. These can give you even more traction than all-season tires and may be worth the investment to keep you safe.
Make a vehicle emergency kit. Your kit should contain a blanket, jumper cables, a flashlight, an ice scraper, lock deicer, tire chains, kitty litter (for traction in snow and ice), snow shovel, a first aid kit, road flares, a disposable camera, water, food (energy bars work well) and anything else you could use in an emergency. Some of these things can be used on a regular basis like the ice scraper, but other things can be used if you have an accident or become stranded somewhere.
Check your spare tire to make sure it is inflated and that it’s still there. In some cities, theft of spare tires that are located in accessible places is a big problem. You may not even realize your spare tire is gone until you need it. A slow leak could also cause your spare tire to deflate without you knowing it. Check that it’s in good shape at the beginning of the winter and make sure you have all the equipment you need to change your tire in your car.
Purchase or renew an auto club membership. You are more likely to need a tow or jump-start in the winter than any other time and you’ll get service for free if you belong to an auto club.