Now that Winter is here there are a few things you need to do to make sure your vehicle runs well in the cold weather. Here are some tips:
Change Your Wiper Fluid and Wiper Blades
The build-up of snow, rain, and salt on your windshield can reduce your visibility on the road. Wiper blades can crack or fray over time, leading to squeaking and poor performance. Change them if they start to wear down. Consider buying winter-ready wiper blades if you live in an area with hard winters. Make sure that your wiper fluid reservoir is full and you have extra fluid in your car in case it runs dry. If temperatures drop to freezing in your area, purchase wiper fluid that has antifreeze properties.
Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires
Keeping your tire pressure levels at the right level will help you drive better when roads get icy. Find the recommended air pressure for your vehicle model on the tire or in your vehicle manual and check your tires periodically to ensure they are at the correct pressure levels. If they get low, fill them at a gas station. You can also invest in an air compressor to store in your car.
Switch to Snow Tires
Do you live in an area that gets a lot of snow? If so, think about replacing your regular tires with snow tires, which are built to retain flexibility, and have tread patterns designed to grip snowy and icy roads better.
Keep Winter Tools in Your Car
Make sure you keep a few items in your car to help you deal with snow and ice. Essential tools include an ice scraper and a snow brush. A shovel is also a good item to have on hand for clearing paths and freeing tires from the elements. Cat litter is helpful for improving traction on the ground, should your car get stuck.
Check Your Battery
Winter can be tough on your battery and can affect its performance. Make sure your battery is clean and connections are secure and haven’t corroded. If your battery is old, consider having a mechanic run a battery load test to see if you need a replacement.
Maintain Oil and Viscosity
In order for your engine to run, it needs proper lubrication from oil. Older oil will be sluggish in winter, so make sure to change it on a regular basis. Check the owner’s manual for your car to find out what viscosity (thickness or thinness of oil) is needed for the climate you’re in.
Keep Your Antifreeze Fresh
Antifreeze is important in the Winter because it prevents your engine from freezing up. The mixture of antifreeze and water in your radiator should be 50/50. To check the composition of your radiator’s fluid, take your car in for a coolant test or pick-up an anti-freeze tester at an auto parts store. Make sure to change your coolant every few years to keep it fresh and effective.
Check Your Engine Belts and Hoses
Check the engine belts and hoses in your car to make sure they aren’t disconnected, brittle or damaged, and replace if needed. Winter temperatures can weaken belts and hoses. If a belt snaps on the road you could be stranded.
Keep Emergency Supplies in Your Vehicle
If there’s a blizzard and you get stranded, you’ll need supplies. Be prepared by packing your car with these emergency supplies – first aid kit, water, food, flashlight, a portable charger for your phone, batteries, battery-operated radio, road flares, warm clothes, and blankets.