When you go outside, it’s beginning to look and feel like fall, with winter right around the corner. We thought we would share our thoughts on the importance of getting your car ready for the cold and the snow that is sure to come. Whether you’re just going to work, or driving in the mountains on the way to a ski resort, your car will need to be able to get you there safe. Make it a priority to get prepared so that you won’t have to worry while you’re driving in the winter. Following some of these tips could literally be life-saving!
Inspect Your Battery
This time of year is perfect for inspecting your battery. As a result of the cold, your battery capacity is reduced. You engine needs more current from the battery in order to start, so make sure your battery is functioning how it should be. If you battery is more than three years old, you may want to have your local repair shop test its ability to hold a charge. Also, you may want to check for cracks and breaks in the battery cables, as well as other belts and hoses under your hood.
Your Windshield & Windshield Wipers
Has it been awhile since you replaced your windshield wiper blades? You might consider investing in new ones if your current blades are not effective. You also should check the level of your windshield washer fluid. We recommend getting washer fluid with an antifreeze solution in it to help out on those cold mornings. Using just water will not work well because it will just freeze on your windshield. Along those same lines, check to ensure your heater and defroster are working properly so that your windshield stays clear. Another tip is to check for air leaks around windows and doors. Keep out the extra moisture and cold in the winter months!
Check Your Oil
As temperatures outside drop, your oil tends to thicken. If it becomes too thick, it will not be as effective in lubricating your engine. You may think about using a thinner oil in the winter to keep your oil at the right viscosity, or thickness. Refer to your owner’s manual, or talk to the technicians the next time you get your oil changed.
It is common for the air pressure in your tires to have dropped due to the cold temperatures outside. Check your owner’s manual to know what the target tire pressure should be. Tires that are properly inflated give you the best possible traction on the road. Additionally, if your tires do not have a lot of tread left on them, your handling ability will be decreased. In some cases, you may want to consider switching to snow tires. This would be more practical in places with hills and in areas that get a lot of snow. Another option would be to get all-season tires.
Most people in this part of the mountain west region have vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive. For those people, we recommend making sure that it is working correctly. The system should engage and disengage easily. We also advise making sure all the people that may drive that vehicle during the winter months know how to activate the four-wheel drive system.
Having an emergency kit in your car is important, especially in the winter months. You never know what will happen while you are driving, so it is wise to keep an emergency kit in your trunk just in case of an unexpected situation. You can include items such as: blanks, boots, flares, washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, cell phone charger, flashlight, small shovel, engine oil, coolant, snacks, etc. And don’t forget to make sure your spare tire is in good shape and that there are the required tools to change it out if necessary.
Other Tips and Tricks
A good thing to remember is to be mindful of your gas tank. You never really know what the weather or circumstances may be like, so we suggest keeping your gas tank at least ¼ to ½ full at all times. Make sure to check that all your lights and bulbs are working properly. This will ensure that you can see well, and that other vehicles on the road will be able to see you if there is poor visibility. In instances where your door is frozen shut and you’re not at home to use your own warm water, try to find a nearby store that sells glycerine that you can use for de-icing.
We hope that some of these suggestions will help you this winter months and all year round. Bargain Tire is here to help you in any way that we can. When you take the time to properly winterize your car, you can have comfort and peace of mind when you are driving in the cold and the snow. Don’t expect your car to function perfectly if you don’t give it the attention that it may need. Plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is safe and reliable this winter!