The winter season can be rough on your car, and because of this it is extremely important to prepare your vehicle for the harsh weather. Especially during the months of December and January, there can be some very dangerous conditions that you should anticipate and prepare for to ensure your safety. Cold winds, rain and snow are very taxing on the endurance of a vehicle, but do not fret. Take a look at these tips to help you survive those cold winter months problem-free.
1. Since cold weather can be very draining for your car battery, make sure it gets checked to ensure that it is performing correctly. Nothing is worse than being stuck somewhere in the cold with a car that won’t start, especially in rural areas. It might be a good idea to buy a battery charger just to have in your vehicle for emergency situations.
2. Tires are the second most important parts to look at. Especially if you live somewhere that has potential for a lot of icy roads, you will want to make sure that your tire pressure and thread depth are top notch. Being able to rely on your tires is a big deal, and during the harsher winter conditions it can be much more hazardous to you and other drivers if your tires are unreliable.
3. Having a solid, functioning pair of breaks is another thing to look for before the weather turns too cold outside. Wet and icy roads require much more caution to drive on, and you may need to stop suddenly at unexpected times. Good breaks on your car may reduce skidding and sliding, but you still need to drive very carefully.
4. Much like other times of the year, preparing your car for winter should also include getting an oil change if needed. This contributes to the overall well being of your vehicle while preparing for winter. Along with this, be sure to look at your oil filter as well. Having bad oil during the cold season can present the potential for serious issues.
5. Allow some time to test out the windshield wipers, heating system and defrosting features of your car. These are also very important to take note of, and because of the low temperatures and precipitation you will want to know you have all of these functions working properly to guarantee you will travel safely.
6. Headlights and break lights are without a doubt used more often during the winter. Not only are the days much shorter, but also nasty storm weather can really darken the streets of any city or town. The lights on your car are one of the most important ways of communicating to other drivers that you are out there. Sometimes the weather can be so thick that your headlights are the only indicator that you are on the road. When testing your lights, have someone stand at the back of your vehicle to tell you if your break lights are functioning properly.
7. If it has been a couple years since you last tended to your anti-freeze system, it’s essential to do a thorough flushing of that system. After it’s been cleaned out, add new anti-freeze and you should be good to go.
8. If you have a feeling that something is off with your car, but you don’t know what, it may be wise to take it into the auto repair shop for a tune up and check-up. This may end up saving you both time and money in the long run, and it is always best to prepare for the worst when it comes to driving in the winter season.
Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited is a full service auto repair shop in Columbia, MO