Winter is quickly approaching, and for those of us who live in cold-weather states, there’s a lot we have to do, so our cars are ready to handle whatever the winter weather throws at us.
Inspect the car’s coolant.
If your car uses traditional coolant, you must ensure your vehicle has a proper 50/50 blend of antifreeze and water, so the fluid doesn’t freeze.
“How do I make sure the mix is right?” You can do this with a kit from any auto parts store.
Check the car’s battery.
When the temperatures go down, car batteries have a more challenging time creating the chemical reactions needed to start the car; as a result, cars start slower and require more current to get going. Get your battery checked at an auto parts store to ensure it has enough juice for the winter; you can get this done free of charge at most stores to see if it is a healthy battery.
If your battery needs replacement, they usually run between $100-$200, depending on what kind you buy.
Top off the wiper fluid.
Winter driving often means a dirty windshield because of all the salt on the roads; consequently, the dirt and salt from the streets can significantly reduce the visibility through the windshield. More to that, having enough windshield wiper fluid will help get rid of snow and ice from your windshield as well.
Be sure to buy freeze-resistant wiper fluid for your vehicle; otherwise, it’ll freeze on your windshield and create a more significant problem.
Check your wiper blades.
Generally, wiper blades last six to twelve months; that said, if you haven’t replaced yours in that time, then you likely need new ones.
Old wiper blades have a challenging time getting rid of rain from the windshield, let alone snow and ice. If you live in an area that gets hit by snow each year, consider splurging for higher grade (specifically suited for winter) blades.
How are your tires doing?
Worn tires (i.e., have little to no tread) are dangerous to drive on in good weather conditions; that said, driving on bald(ish) tires in winter is incredibly dangerous.
If your car has all-season tires, verify the tread is at minimum 5/32″ for the most desirable winter traction. Your car has essentially no traction in winter if your tread is less than 2/32″ and should be replaced no matter what time of year it is.
Here’s a quick way to verify if your tire has enough tread: place a penny inside a tread groove and have Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head (the tire covers, i.e., no part of his head), it’s time to replace the tires.
Check your tire pressure.
Cold air compresses things, including air. Double-check that your tire pressure is adequate. To put air in your tires, you can have it done for free at essentially any auto shop, or you can do it yourself. Verify the tire pressure requirements by looking at the panel inside your driver’s door jam (open your driver door and look at the car frame of the door), or look at your owner’s manual.
Change your oil.
Did you know winter temperatures affect motor oil? The frigid air makes the air thicker and, thus, harder to send through the engine. If you’re near the time to get an oil change, go ahead and do that; some auto experts recommend getting a thinner oil for winter.
Check your belts and hoses.
Check your belts and hoses for any cracks or considerable wear, as these cracks and things can cause the belts or hoses to break, which means your car won’t run.
Have an emergency kit in your car.
Be equipped for those unforeseen situations by fitting your vehicle with blankets, flat tire kits, flares, a jack (only if you know how to change a tire, otherwise use the flat tire kits), a first-aid kit, a flashlight with replacement batteries, non-perishable food and water, shovel, and sand for traction if your tire gets stuck in the snow. DO NOT USE CAT LITTER FOR TRACTION; this is a fallacy since cat litter will mix with the moisture in the snow and create a cement-like mixture, causing you to get more stuck. This advice is mentioned on litter boxes.
If you need more assistance with preparing your vehicle for the winter, make sure to contact the experts at ASI Collision today! We are a high-end, luxury autobody repair and collision center with technicians with over 40 years of experience and offer a wide selection of services. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form!