With the arrival of the cold winter weather not only do we have to take some extra time to bundle up in the morning, but it is important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for harsher conditions on the road. There are plenty of precautions you can take to avoid any difficult situation and to stay safe!
Firstly, you want to make sure that the fluids are at the proper levels. One of the most important things is to check your coolant to make sure that it contains the proper mixture (this mix can be found in your owner’s manual) of anti-freeze and water. Obviously, antifreeze is important here as the correct amount will prevent your engine from freezing up. If you live somewhere that experiences extreme cold it may even be a good idea to switch to thinner oil for better performance. Additionally, you should also be sure you have enough windshield wiper fluid, as with snowstorms it will be used more frequently. Much like your coolant, you can add some antifreeze to the mix to make sure it functions properly.
The air pressure in your tires is something you want to monitor no matter the time of year, but it is especially important here. Just a 10 degree change in temperature can result in a loss or gain of 1 psi in pressure. For this reason, you should keep a close eye on the pressure during the winter. If you are unsure about how much pressure is proper for your tires you can check the owner’s manual or the driver’s side door jamb. You also want to check the tire tread as worn or low pressure tires are dangerous on wet or slippery roads.
Not only is engine trouble common in cold conditions, but battery capacity is reduced as well. At the start of the season, perform a thorough inspection of the battery, its cables and terminals. Check that all the cables are attached firmly and have no cracks or tears. Further, you can check the battery by uncovering the refill hole(s); if you find that the water is below the cap you can refill it.
Regular tires harden during the colder months due to the rubber particles, which reduces traction. However, special compounds used in snow tires resist hardening and perform better in snowy and wet conditions. Some people don’t use snow tires because they can decrease fuel efficiency and handling, so there is the alternate option of all-season tires as well.
You can also install special windshield wipers that work to prevent ice from collecting on the blades, thus making it easier to get your car going on those frosty mornings. Additionally, you can buy windshield wiper fluid that is freeze resistant.
Getting stranded with your car is never fun, but can be particularly uncomfortable in inclement weather. It is important that you are prepared in an emergency. Below are some key items to stock up on:
1. Do not run your car for long periods of time. Keep it on long enough to stay warm, but shut it off to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
2. Put your dome lights on to attract attention.
3. Do not leave your car, so you don’t risk losing sight of it.
4. Kitty litter or sand can help if your tires get stuck in the snow.
Now that you’ve started being safer, why don’t you also start being a saver? Get a quote with TSC>Direct today for your home and auto insurance!