When the cold weather sets in, you instinctively refresh your wardrobe for winter to accommodate some heavier clothing. Preparing your automobile for winter weather should be no different. With the low temperatures, precipitation, and harsh temperatures, winter is one of the most dangerous times to drive. However, a prepared car is better equipped to meet harsh-weather challenges, imparts composure and confidence in a driver, and endures through long months of harsh elements.
Before winter takes hold, consider these tips to help you get your vehicle ready for winter:
Equip Yourself With a Winter Emergency Kit
Image via Flickr by elementx79
Besides the emergency road kit you should already have in your vehicle, consider getting a winter emergency kit or adding items that can come in handy during snowy or cold weather. Some of the winter items you might want to consider having in your kit include:
- A shovel.
- An Ice scraper.
- Kitty litter or sand (for extra traction on slippery, icy roads).
Replace Your Wiper Blades
Undoubtedly, visibility is critical when you’re on the road. Unfortunately, wiper blades lose their effectiveness quicker than most motorists think. Once you start seeing streaks on the windshield after every swipe, it’s time to replace your blades with new ones. However, you can try wiping down the rubber with a washcloth to see if that increases performance.
When starting your car in cold weather, save your windshield wipers and use a deicer or an ice scraper to remove ice from your windshield. Also, when you park your automobile outside, fold your wipers out to prevent them from freezing and sticking to the windshield.
Get a Set of Winter Tires
If you frequently drive during winter, consider purchasing a set of winter tires. They provide excellent grip when the temperature remains consistently below 44 degrees, and while they’re effective in ice and snow, they also perform better than summer tires when it’s wet.
Alternatively, checking the tread depth of your existing tires is essential if you don’t want to incur the extra cost of winter tires. The legal tread depth limit is about 2/32 inch, but having more than this can significantly improve braking and steering. If your car’s tires are due for replacement, then winter is a good time to do it. Also, check each tire’s pressure frequently, as this can change with the drop in air temperature.
Check the Fluid Levels
Windshield washer, coolant, power steering, transmission, and brake fluids should all be on your winter to-do list when the calendar approaches the colder months. All are crucial for making sure your vehicle runs smoothly. For example, washer fluid is vital for maintaining visibility, while transmission fluid is vital for cooling and lubricating the gears. Brake fluid is necessary to maintain stopping power, and power steering fluid is essential for smooth steering.
Protect the Interior
Consider investing in all-weather floor mats to protect your vehicle’s floors against grime, dirt, snow, and water. These mats will even shield your vehicle from spills and stains and help keep the muck in one place. They also hold up well against general wear and tear. Ideally, you can use them all year long, not just during the colder months.
Have Your Battery Checked
The colder winter months are the worst time to find yourself stuck on the roadside because of a dead battery. So before winter comes, bring your car to one of our service centers in McKinney, Texas, for a battery inspection. The proper way to identify a weak battery is with professional equipment, although you might spot some signs of damage, including fluid loss and rust. Your battery is responsible for starting your automobile in cold winter months and powering electrical features like lights and heated seats.
Schedule an Oil Change
Your engine needs to be well lubricated to run efficiently in cold weather. Since cold weather reduces the effectiveness of engine oil, use thinner oil during the winter months. Thin oil runs through the powertrain easier than thicker oil, allowing the oil in your engine to circulate properly. Check your owner’s manual to find the proper viscosity for your ride.
Get Your Car Inspected
Have a professional mechanic inspect your car. It’s better to get your auto inspection done in the fall so that you can deal with potential repair problems before winter fully sets in.
Learn Some Driving Tips for Snowy and Icy Roads
Learning how to maneuver your car when up against harsh winter elements could mean the difference between ending up in a snowbank on the roadside and reaching your destination safely.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Ensure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow or mud.
- Plan your route early to avoid any dangerous roads during extreme weather.
- Before traveling, listen to the radio for announcements about road advisories, road closings, and accidents.
- Be aware that overpasses and bridges freeze first. Slow down when driving toward them and avoid sudden changes in direction and speed.
- Use gentle impulses while driving: Brake carefully and early, turn slowly, and accelerate gently.
- Avoid driving too slowly. The vehicle requires some momentum to push through thicker snow without getting stuck.
- Allow more space and time for braking when visibility is poor.
- Keep your lights on when driving through fog, snow, and rain.
- Clear frost, snow, and ice thoroughly from all windows and exterior mirrors of your car.
Driving during winter puts more stress on your car. Take these steps ahead of time, and they can save you a lot of time and money once the snow moves in. If you need to winterize your automobile and stay safe this winter, get in touch with a reputable auto shop. Huffines Hyundai McKinney in McKinney, Texas, has service and maintenance technicians training and experience to keep your vehicle in peak running condition in all seasons. Before winter arrives, schedule a service appointment with Huffines Hyundai McKinney in McKinney or visit our service center. Be sure to check out our current service specials, new vehicle inventory, used car inventory, and auto financing options.