Over the river and through the woods…
From the office holiday party to Christmas Eve with the family, you have a lot of traveling to do during the busy holiday season. Remember that going out in the snow and cold of winter is as hard on your vehicle as it is on you. Don’t let Old Man Winter stop you from getting to all those fun parties and events; check out these tips that can help prepare your vehicle for winter travel.
As the temperature drops, your battery loses precious power. Make sure that your battery is ready to take on the cold temperatures by having it checked to ensure that it’s holding a charge. Many auto repair shops and auto parts stores will check this for you for no charge. If its power is reduced, consider replacing it with a battery that is designed to perform in cold temperatures. Look for a battery with high cold cranking amps rating.
Keeping your engine’s fluids flowing when the temperature dips is the job of your engine’s antifreeze. Fill your cooling system with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and overheating. Check your engine’s antifreeze/coolant level before starting out on a trip. Tip - the radiator cap can be extremely hot, be sure to let your car cool off before removing it.
While your tires are important no matter what the season, their condition takes on increased importance in winter. Good tires will help you power through snow and aid when you hit the brakes. Inspect your tires for signs of damage and examine the tread depth. You can check the tread by inserting a quarter into the tread, with the side with Washington’s head facing toward you. If the tread touches Washington’s head, you’re in good shape, as this indicates a tread depth of at least 4/32"; if the tread doesn’t touch, it’s time to think about new tires.
Keep a clear view
Being able to see is extremely important when snow and sleet is pelting your windshield. Inspect your windshield wipers on a regular basis for any signs of splitting, tearing or other damage. Replace your wipers if they are worn to ensure they are up to the task of clearing snow from your windshield. Consider switching to winter wiper blades that are designed to perform in the harshest of conditions.
Test heater and defroster
You rely on your defroster to keep your windshield clear inside and out while your heater keeps you warm and comfortable all winter long. Take time to check your heater and defroster to make sure both of these winter driving essentials are in working order. If anything seems amiss, talk to your trusted mechanic.
Top off wiper fluid
Winter driving often calls the use of wiper fluid to keep your windshield clear. Check the level of your windshield wiper fluid on a regular basis and top it off to ensure you don’t run out. Consider switching to a wiper fluid rated for use in freezing temperatures.
Besides the items in your emergency road kit, there are some basic items you should carry during the winter season to ensure that you are ready for anything that Mother Nature dishes out.
Cold weather gear:
- Warm coat
Items to keep your car running in the snow:
- Ice scraper
- Tire chains
- Kitty litter
Know before you go
Check road conditions and the weather forecast on the route you’re traveling. Consider altering your route or change the time of day you are traveling to avoid poor conditions.
Fill ‘er up
Start out your trip with a full tank of gas. If the unthinkable happens and you get stranded, you’ll want as much gas as possible so you can intermittently run the heater.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.