It can be challenging enough knowing what to look for in a new car let alone owning one, and winter can be the most dreaded time of year for drivers. Not only do we have to worry about the snow, ice, and treacherous road conditions, but our cars are also at risk.
If you want to make sure that your vehicle can handle the winter without any problems, it’s important to prepare yourself before the season even starts. In this post, we’ll discuss seven active steps you can take before winter comes, so that you are ready to face the challenges.
Store Your Car Well
If you don’t have a garage available, consider parking your car under an overhang or canopy. This can provide some additional coverage from the rain and hail while still allowing the sunlight to get through. This will help stop the ice from forming on top of the vehicle. A garage can give your car additional protection from the damage caused by extreme weather conditions, like hailstorms or heavy snowfall.
In order to protect your car you should keep the garage floor clean and free from chemical drips, spills and nails. You can also get garage winter floor mats that come with warranties online. Specialist websites can explain what they are and how they work, and you can buy additional accessories for them too.
Maintain Your Tires
Tire Pressure And Wear
You should look after your tires twelve months of the year because they are the only thing between you and the road. In terms of maintenance, they are pretty straightforward and simple. Make sure you have the right tire pressure because under or over-inflated tires can lead to blowouts on the road, and cause accidents.
You should rotate your tires every other oil change, and inspect them for any abnormal wear patterns such as unusual shoulder wear, cupping (uneven treadwear) or bulges/bubbles (bulging sidewall).
Winter Tires And Chains
Some people have winter tires fitted because the tread patterns are better designed for the season. They generally have more aggressive siping (tiny grooves in the rubber) that help them maintain traction even on snow or ice. You could also consider putting chains on your tires when it snows as they can provide better road grip. If you do this each year you’ll want to make sure they’re not worn down from regular use.
Check The Antifreeze And Windshield Wipers
Anti-freeze is the fluid that helps your car’s engine stay warm and keeps it from freezing in the winter. Its ingredients are mainly composed of ethylene glycol and water. During the winter the anti-freeze levels in your car should be checked every two weeks using a hydrometer. If you discover that it’s low, be sure to add some before starting up your car.
Your car’s windshield wipers should also be checked because they play a major role in providing visibility whilst you are driving. It is important to replace old or worn-out wiper blades before the winter comes and you should ideally choose products that work well with snow and ice.
Check The Lights
The winter is typically the darkest time of the year so it is important to check the lights on your vehicle beforehand. If you don’t, you risk accidents and fines. Turn them on and check for cracks in the light’s filament or lenses. Make sure they are all clean if needed, too. Check your brake lights by pressing down hard on each one while someone watches at a distance.
Fog lights can be essential at this time, so check those, too. If you notice any damage or deterioration check with your local car parts store for a replacement bulb and install it as soon as possible. Make sure your hazard lights are fully functional in case you need them after an accident or breakdown.
Look After The Battery
A new battery may be able to get you through a couple of seasons without any issues, but it’s always good practice for car owners to test their batteries before the winter. Whilst most cars can self-charge when they are regularly used, they become vulnerable when parked for long periods or during colder weather. If you don’t check your battery, you could end up unable to get to work or be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Make sure your battery terminals are clean and corrosion-free and recharge or replace the battery if needed. If you buy your own battery charger you won’t be dependent on a friend or garage. If you keep some jump leads in your car it is always good idea. You can use them to connect to another person’s car battery and kick start your car back to life.
Have The Right Car Equipment
There are lots of ways you can kit your car out, ready for the approaching cold spell. Make sure your car heater is fully up and running. Car covers are an inexpensive way of protecting your car from the snow and ice, and they’re also useful for keeping off bird droppings!
Keep a car scraper in your car alongside some de-icer, so you can get the ice and snow off your windscreen before you head off. Have a snow shovel handy as well, in case your car gets snowed in.
Stock Up On Supplies
Hopefully, the winter will pass without incident, but you should prepare yourself just in case. Keep a first-aid kit in your car and make sure it is well stocked. You should also keep some extra food, water, flashlights with batteries, blankets, flares or other warning devices.
When you take the necessary precautions the winter can be a season to look forward to rather than to dread. If your car and garage are fully maintained and you stock up on the right equipment and supplies you’ll be all set to get through it. You will be stewarding both your life and the life of those in your car, as well as other pedestrians and road users.