6 Ways To Prepare Your Car For Winter
Before we know it, winter commute will make its way into our lives once again. Icy roads, slow traffic, adult language, and that warm air you finally receive just as you are pulling up to work – what a treat. However, safety is more important than our tempers. Let’s explore the 6 ways to prepare your car for winter.
Losing control of your car is likely the biggest concern of winter driving. With roads literally as slick as ice, the need for enhanced traction is a must. We meet many people who believe winter tires are a marketing ploy by tire and auto repair companies. It’s usually these people who contact us regarding winter car accidents.
The tread rubber compounds of winter tires are designed to remain flexible (needed for proper traction), even as temperatures drops. All season tires lack these compounds, which leads to stiffening and insufficient traction. Regardless of which type of car you drive, the first thing you should do, when you decide to prepare your car for winter, is swap your all-season tires for winter tires.
Check That Battery
There is nothing more frustrating than coming out to a dead car on a brisk winter morning. Although cold weather isn’t likely to kill a good battery, it is more than enough to kill a bad one. How do you know if your battery is good or bad? Test it. There are two options for testing your battery.
- Bring your car into the auto shop you frequent. Depending on who you go to, they may even test it for free.
- Purchase a multimeter and test it yourself. Check that voltage is above 10 when starting the car and above 12 when the car is running.
But like anything else in life, unexpected things happen. Be prepared for the unexpected with a portable jump start pack. These rechargeable packs (which also act as a cellphone charger) allow you to jumpstart your car without the need of another car. Not only will you avoid the embarrassment of asking someone else to help you, it could save you in situations where you can’t contact anyone.
Emergency Winter Kit
“I’ll never get stranded”. This mantra is spoken far too often by those living in winter climates. We can’t stress enough how important these kits are to your winter car preparation. Don’t know what is required for proper survival? Here’s your list:
- Windshield scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Battery powered radio
- Energy bars
- Matches and small candles
- Extra hats, socks, mittens, and jacket
- First aid kit
- Utility knife
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt or sand
- Portable jump start pack (can be used to jumpstart car and charge cellphone)
- Emergency flares
If possible, store this kit in the cab of your car. Depending on the reason you are stranded, you may not have access to your trunk.
Install New Wipers
Ever turn your windshield wipers on during a rain or snow and it actually makes your visibility worse? Yeah, I think we all have. Rather than attempting to peak through that one clear spot, replace your wipers.
It is extremely dangerous for you, and those around you, to drive with worn-out wiper, so please take the time to replace these when prepping your car for winter. And while you are at it, make sure your front and rear defrosters are working properly.
Bring The Heat
Along with your front and rear defrosters, test your car’s entire heating system. You’ve probably been blasting the A/C for the past 6 months, so make sure your heat is working before the bitter cold hits. You don’t want to be that person shivering their way around town every day.
Test Your Lights
With the potential for limited visibility, it is imperative that you test your brake lights, headlights, turn signals, and hazards. You would be surprised at the amount of accidents that occur because of broken lights.
We know preparing your car for winter is tough. It’s in this act that we accept our winter fate. However, your safety is more important than your hatred of cold weather and snow. So, get out there and get ready. And remember, you aren’t alone in the perils of winter.