Posted on November 14, 2016 by Automotive Technology of West Islip in Car Care Tips
Finding yourself stranded on the side of the road in the middle of a snowstorm is frustrating and potentially life threatening. For this reason, it’s worth spending an extra hour or two preparing your vehicle for winter.
Here are some tips on how to winterize your vehicle before you hit the road in inclement weather:
Get a Tune-Up: If it has been more than a year since your car had its last tune-up, you may want to get it done before winter sets in. If your car has any problems, frigid winter temperatures and wet weather can exacerbate the issues. Make an appointment with us today.
Check Your Tires: Cold air condenses, so ensure tire pressure is properly maintained for both longer road trips and everyday driving. Driving on underinflated tires could lead to tire failure and decrease fuel economy. Over or under inflated, tires can lose traction that could lead to an accident if not addressed. Check the tire pressure weekly, in the mornings, during the winter months. Also, make sure your tire tread can pass the penny test and can properly grip the road. Don’t forget to check the spare.
Check Your Battery: Cold weather can be hard on batteries. Check your battery and charging system before winter to make sure they are working efficiently. Battery connections should be clean, tight and corrosion free.
Check Your Oil: You should change your oil around every 5,000-6,000 miles. If it has been a while, be sure to get your oil and filter changed out. If you live in an exceptionally cold climate, it may be a good idea to change to winter weight oil.
Check Your Brakes: The brakes are probably the most important safety feature on your vehicle. When you combine icy roads and bad brakes you create a serious safety hazard. Have your brakes checked and replaced if necessary before you drive on winter roads.
Maintain Visibility: With poor weather conditions and longer nights in winter months, you need to make sure you are able to see and be seen. Check that your wiper blades are in good working condition and that you change the wiper fluid to a winter grade. Also, check to make sure that your headlights, rear lights, and interior lights are all working properly.
Check Your Antifreeze Levels: Vehicles low on antifreeze have the potential to overheat the engine. This is an even bigger risk if frigid winter temps cause the water in the radiator to freeze. For this reason, it is good to make sure that you have the right amount of antifreeze in your vehicle before the freezing winter temps arrive.
Prepare for Emergencies: You may want to consider packing your car with emergency items just in case you get stranded. Items such as a first aid kit, flashlights and batteries, tire chains, blankets, gloves, a pair of warm boots and emergency food and water are a good start. Other items like flares and a shovel would also come in handy.