A little preparation goes a long way, especially when it comes to driving during the winter months. Preparation means more than giving yourself extra time to slow down and stop. It also means preventive vehicle maintenance to keep harsh winter conditions from wearing down your vehicle.
Why Winterization Makes Perfect Sense
Think of winterizing your car as a part of vehicle preventive maintenance. By winterizing your vehicle, you’re preventing harsh winter weather from taking its toll on your vehicle throughout the season. Winterizing your car also ensures you’re ready to roll no matter what winter throws your way.
How to Winterize Your Car
- Check your fluids. Make sure your car has the right amount of engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, etc. Look out for leaks.
- Maintain good antifreeze levels. Unless you’re using pre-mixed antifreeze, make sure the content ratio of antifreeze to water doesn’t go above 70/30 or drop below 50/50.
- Check your battery. Make sure it’s rated for more than 600 cold-cranking amps. If your battery is more than 3 years old or having issues with starting, replace it as soon as possible.
- Keep an eye on tire pressure. Every 10-degree drop in temperatures equals a 1-PSI loss in tire pressure. Check your tire pressures and keep your tires aired up to the pressures recommended for your vehicle.
- Keep your gas tank half-full. Not only does this reduce condensation, but it also ensures you won’t run out of gas if you’re stranded in severe winter weather.
- Check your belts and hoses. Serpentine belts, spark plug wires and radiator hoses can turn brittle and break under severe cold. Make sure these components are undamaged and in good working order.
- Put together a winter safety kit. This includes extra antifreeze, an extra cell phone, non-perishable food and beverages, warm clothing and a first aid kit.
- Switch to winter tires. Winter tires offer better grip and handling on snowy and icy roads than standard all-season tires. You’ll want to switch before the first snow of the year.
- Check your windshield wipers. If you haven’t already done so, install winter wipers. These wipers offer more durability for removing ice and snow from your windshield.
Check with your local Metro Motor auto technician for more tips on vehicle maintenance. The sooner you winterize your car before severe winter weather strikes, the better.