How to Winterize Your Car
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Unlike a taking a scenic fall drive, driving your car in the winter isn’t the most enjoyable task. Snow, ice, sleet, and rain can make driving feel a little hairy, which can make for an uncomfortable experience in the driver’s seat.
There are thankfully a lot of things you can do to make it easier and safer to drive during the winter, which should make you a lot more comfortable. The best and most important thing you can do is take some classes or do some reading on how to drive in the winter. However, there’s also a lot that you can do to winterize a car.
What does it mean to winterize a car, you ask? It just means to get the car ready for the winter, so that it is optimized for the cold weather and icy road conditions that it’s going to be tasked with driving on.
Read on to find out how to winterize a car when those cold months roll around.
Preemptive Maintenance and Service
The first thing you need to do when winterizing a car is handle preventative maintenance and routine service before the winter shows up. Driving in the winter is harder on a car than driving during the rest of the year. On top of that, when it’s snowing you really don’t want your car to break down.
So, right before the snow starts to fall, get all your maintenance and service handled. You want to make sure your spark plugs are in working order, your belts and hoses are in good condition, and your brakes are fresh and functional.
Your car should have all its lights working, and all of the electrical system in good order.
Some basic preemptive maintenance and service can make all the difference when the weather drops.
New Windshield Wiper Blades
When winter rolls around you’ll probably find yourself using your windshield wipers a bit more. All that rain and snow on the windshield adds up, and if your wipers can’t adequately displace it, you won’t be able to see well enough to drive safely.
So you really want to have windshield wipers that work well. Before the water and ice start to fall from the sky, make sure to replace your wiper blades so that they’re new. They’re going to get a lot of use in the winter, and they need to be up to the challenge.
Depending on where you live, you may not need tires specifically for winter. But if you live somewhere that gets a significant amount of snow or ice, then it’s a good idea to get snow tires, or at least all-season tires. They can be the difference between losing control on the road, and driving smoothly and safely.
It can feel like a hassle to get new tires just for the winter, but it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when there’s snow on the road.
A Healthy Battery
One thing you absolutely want is a fully healthy battery in your car. Cold weather can impact the efficacy of a battery, so it’s important to enter the colder months with a battery that’s working well. When you go in for maintenance or service, ask if your battery is healthy enough to carry into the winter.
You’ve probably heard of antifreeze, and it becomes important once the weather starts to dip below freezing. Before winter rolls around, make sure there’s a proper amount of antifreeze in your coolant, so that you don’t end up with frozen coolant stuck in your engine.
Sufficient Tire Pressure
Few parts of your car are more impacted by cold weather than the tires. The pressure inside of your tires can drop pretty dramatically with the weather, so starting with the proper pressure is very important. If your tires lose some pressure, you’ll lose traction on the snowy and icy roads, and you’ll be more likely to suffer a puncture.
Emergency Kit and First Aid Kit
Cars are more susceptible in the winter, and so are you. Furthermore, it’s easier to have something go really wrong in the winter, when your car could slide off an embankment or you could get stranded in a spot where you’re hard to see.
So an important part of winterizing a car is to keep an emergency kit and first aid kit ready, in case something bad happens. In the emergency kit you want things like flares, a blanket, water, a flashlight, gloves, non-perishable snacks, a car battery charger, and a cell phone charger. And in the first aid kit you want standard equipment like bandaids, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and anti-inflammatories.
How to Winterize a Car for Storage
The above tips are only useful if you’re actually driving your car. If you plan on leaving it be, then you need to know how to winterize a car for storage.
The most important thing you can do for a winter car in storage is keep it somewhere where it’s safe from the elements. If you have a garage, leave your car in there, and try and keep it at a decent temperature. If you don’t have a garage, put a car cover on your car to keep it protected from snow and ice.
You also want to keep all the fluids in your car pretty full, like the gas, coolant, and brake fluid. Finally, keep the tires well inflated. If you’re going to be near your car, turn it on every week or two and let it run for a few minutes so the battery can get recharged and the fluids can circulate.
Winter doesn’t have to be daunting for car owners. Follow all these winterizing tips and you’ll be good to go.