With the days getting shorter and the temperature dropping, winter is fast approaching. For many of us that means hitting the road in our car to get to work, school, or other destinations. But with snowstorms and icy conditions making roads treacherous after just a few inches of snowfall, driving during winter can be risky business. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting into an accident this winter. Preparing your car for the elements ahead will help you avoid any unfortunate surprises when you head out again. Here are some helpful tips for making sure your car is ready for cold weather:
One of the first things to prepare for winter is your tires. First off, be sure there is adequate tread on your tires. If you’re not sure what level is appropriate for your tires, check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation. Next, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires will increase your stopping distance, as well as affect your gas mileage. Visit a tire store to have your tires inspected and, if needed, be sure they are properly inflated. Next, be sure your tires are the right type for driving in winter weather. When choosing winter tires, look for an “M” in the name to indicate they are made for winter driving, and an “s” to indicate they are for an all-season tire. They have a softer rubber compound that is better for driving on snow and ice and grip more easily, making them a safer option for winter driving. Get more in-depth on how to find the right winter tires for your car.
Some fluids in your car, such as your windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, and brake fluid, need to change as the weather gets colder. For example, you will want to replace your summer windshield washer fluid with winter washer fluid. Winter washer fluid is an ethylene glycol based, which freezes at a lower temperature than the isopropyl alcohol-based summer fluid, so it won’t freeze up when temperatures drop. Similarly, you will want to change your antifreeze to one that is rated for colder temperatures. You can find these winter-ready fluids at your local auto parts store.
Brake fluid can boil at very low temperatures. If it’s too hot, it can damage your car’s brake pads and rotors, which will cost you a lot of money to repair. That’s why it’s important to have your brake fluid checked in the fall and winter, too. Your battery should be in good shape and fully charged for winter weather. Cold temperatures can affect your car battery’s charge, and if it isn’t fully charged, it may not be able to start the car. If you need a new battery, it’s best to get one that is winter-ready. This type of battery has thicker lead plates, which can withstand the cold better than a traditional battery.
Wiper blades need to be replaced every six months, regardless of the season. You should also replace them if they are damaged or broken. Wiper blades become less effective in cold weather since they don’t rubberize properly in freezing temperatures. If you need new wiper blades, make sure to get a type that is winter-ready. They are made of a rubberized material that works better in freezing temperatures.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get your car ready for whatever the weather may bring this winter. Be sure to check your car’s fluid levels, and change your windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, and brake fluid as needed. And finally, check your tire tread and consider investing in winter tires if you drive in snowy conditions. With these tips, you are sure to have a safer and more comfortable winter driving experience.
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