We’ve all felt Jack Frost taking a nip at our nose, and facing Jack also means facing the harsh reality that a harsh winter promises, including the toll it’s like to take on our main mode of transportation. Especially if you are taking your car on trips in colder climates.
The tempestuous winter months put our vehicles through greater stress and strain, and can often make minor imperfections into major malfunctions. With that said, experts emphasize the importance of getting your car geared up for winter well advance of the plummeting temperatures.
Battery Operation: Since cold weather can be hard on batteries, checking your battery should be a top priority
· Make sure connections are tight and corrosion-free and that the cables aren’t lose.
· Have a technician conduct a load test to further determine your battery’s condition.
Check Your Liquid Assets: Professionals point out the need to check your vehicles vital fluids and filters, as well as its hoses, belts, and tires.
· At minimum, get oil and filter change.
· Check you coolant level and make sure the water/antifreeze ration is correct.
· Make sure you have ample windshield-washer fluid. And make sure to always keep it topped off with proper commercial anti-freeze.
· Check and double-check wipers, their condition, and how they are functioning. You can even choose to switch to winter blades as an option.
· Inspect headlights, taillights, brake lights and defrosters, and make sure they are in good, working order.
Interior Design: How your car operates on the inside is just as important to how it functions on the outside.
· Inspect floor for cracks or holes that may allow dangerous (and toxic) exhaust gases into your vehicle.
· Ensure that your heater (and defroster) are working.
Check Brakes, Belts And Hoses: Make sure all are in good condition and in working order before hitting the road.
· Top-off brake, clutch and transmission fluids.
· Check pressure on your belts. Also check for any cracking or fraying.
· Look for loose connections on hoses, as well as for unusual bulges, cracks, tears, and holes.
Treading On Thin Ice: Tire pressure and tread depth affect traction in the snow and rain.
· Check the inflation pressure of your tires and make adjustments according to the season and the temperature. This check, say experts, should be conducted several times a year (about twice a month).
· Check your spare tire and make sure you have one.
Getting Your Wheels In Motion: One of the best ways to safely get around in winter is by switching to a climate-friendly tire.
· Replace current tires with tires especially designed for colder, icier conditions.
· Check tread Depth. Keep in mind the shallower, the better.
· Beware of studded tires. They may offer more traction in wintry weather, but can reduce traction of dry roads.
Stay Attuned To Your Car’s Needs: Taking care of your car means knowing what it needs and when.
· Check the owner’s manual for instructions on how often you’ll need a general tune up, including spark plugs, ignition, coil, fuel injection, etc. and get one done just before the brunt of the winter season strikes.
· Put a minimum of one coat of wax on the exterior to protect paint against the winter making it easier for snow and ice to simply slip off
· Spay a lubricant (such as WD-40) in all door and trunk locks to prevent them from freezing.
· Stock and emergency kit with flashlight, flares, first-aid kid, blanket, warm clothes, gloves, hast, paper towels, snow shovel, snow brush, ice scraper, washer fluid, high energy food and water, and booster cables, and keep it in your car.
· Keep some sand or other such coarse material in your car to pour under tires to assist with traction if you get stuck on ice or hard-packed snow.
· ALWAYS carry your cell phone with you and make sure it’s charged.
Polishing Your Safety Skills: No matter what kind of vehicle you drive or how well you maintain it, cautious driving is always recommended.
· Invest in an advanced winter driving course.