Preparation is key in prevention. When it comes to making sure your car is ready for winter weather, you should follow a few routine steps to ensure you’re set for whatever the cold brings. Neglecting these easy steps could mean the difference between getting stranded in a snowstorm and making it home for the holidays.
Maintain Your Battery
Car batteries, like other batteries in general, are heavily affected by colder temperatures. The cranking power drops as temperatures plummet, sometimes even reducing by half the power or more. You should routinely check your battery for corrosion, no matter the temperature, but you must do more than check for visual signs of wear and tear on your battery during the winter months. Check the fluid and charge levels by referring to your owner’s manual or visiting your local service station. When batteries are older than five years, they may need to be replaced if showing signs of repeated weakness.
Replace Wiper Blades
Wiper blades generally only last between six to twelve months, so this area of maintenance should be regarded often. Since this part of your vehicle impacts your sight, you should clean the blade’s rubber edge frequently with household glass cleaner and a clean paper towel or soft rag. Blades should be replaced once to twice per year, depending on how frequently they are used.
Clear the Windows
Speaking of maintaining your proper sight, keeping windows clear of debris and ice is also strongly encouraged during the colder months. This is especially true when the temperatures drop below freezing. Frost and ice that accumulate on your windows can obstruct your vision. It’s important to treat every window to prevent blind spots. The best tool to utilize is an ice scraper with a long arm to reach all the way across the windshield. While you’re ensuring you have proper vision during driving, check to make sure all your headlights are functioning properly and that your heater and defroster are working.
Check the Oil
Water isn’t the only thing that freezes in cold weather. Your oil can thicken too, so make sure you’re using a proper formula that is recommended for year-round usage. Check under your hood frequently to make sure all your levels are adequate and hoses and belts are in good condition.
Consider New Tires
If you will need to travel in snow and ice, your tires can make or break your trip. All-weather tires are recommended for those in areas with four seasons. You should check your tread often and refer to your owner’s manual for proper air pressure levels.