Don’t wait until the temperatures drop to winterize your vehicle. You don’t want to be caught on the road in the cold and unprepared. Here are some of the things you need to do to prepare your vehicle for winter weather:
Check Your Battery
Cold weather reduces the battery capacity, and your battery may not start. Have the battery, cables, and terminals inspected. Check for cracks or breaks on the cables. Make sure that the terminals are tight and have no loose connections. Be sure to check the battery fluid and refill with distilled water if necessary.
Check the voltage to see how much charge is in your battery. Newer cars have built-in diagnostic systems that keep you informed about your car’s maintenance needs. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that lets you know the remaining voltage. If you have neither of these, you can always consult a mechanic. Mechanics have handheld hydrometers that can determine the charge left on your battery.
Check Your Tires
Don’t put yourself or your loved ones in danger by driving on worn tires or tires that don’t have the correct air pressure. This can be extremely dangerous, especially if the roads are wet or icy. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) required for your tires. You can check the pressure yourself with a tire gauge, or go to a tire service center. If snowfall is heavy in your area, you may want to consider purchasing snow tires for better traction during the winter months.
Check All Fluids
Make sure that all of your car’s fluids are at the correct levels. This is another vehicle check-up task that you can do yourself. The information is available in the owner’s manual, or you can watch “how-to” videos online. The fluids you will need to check are:
- Antifreeze: You’ll need to have the right amount of antifreeze in your car’s radiator to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures drop. Use a tester to make sure that the fluid is filled to the maximum.
- Oil: Check the owner’s manual or with the auto parts store to find the best motor oil to use for winterizing your car. You might want to consider switching to a thinner oil (to avoid freezing) if you live in areas where temperatures drop below zero.
- Wiper fluid: Always use freeze-resistant wiper fluid to clean your windshield.
Be Ready for Emergencies
Regardless of the temperatures, it’s always a good idea to keep a safety kit in your car. Safety kits include:
- First aid kit (always keep one in your car)
- Blanket, gloves, and hat
- Cat litter or sand
- Jug of water
- Lug wrench
- Road flares
- Ice scraper/brush
- Small shovel
- Snacks (be sure to check expiration dates)
Roadway Auto Insurance wants to ensure your safety and well being in all seasons. Make a plan to winterize your vehicle today.