How to Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter

air filter with wrench in itWhen it comes to winter, the deck is stacked against your car. Not only are the naturally occurring elements out to get you, but also other factors like salt and debris. Let’s go through a quick checklist to make sure that you and your car are best suited to handle whatever the winter roads throw at it. That way, you have the best chance at keeping you and your passengers safe.

  • Check your tires. As your car’s only point of contact with the road, the integrity of your tires will determine how long it will take you to stop and your ability to handle. Having tires that are in good condition during winter is extra vital because of extra slippery conditions. The more friction you can put between you and the road, the better. Inspect your treads. If they look worn, strongly consider getting them replaced.
  • Check the level of your antifreeze. About a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water make up the solution in your radiator. Purchase a tester (they’re cheap, only about $5) and check the ratio of the two liquids. Fill up accordingly.
  • Get new wiper blades. Winter driving kicks up a lot of debris onto your windshield. It’s bad news, though, when you hit the wiper switch and your old wiper blades end up smudging your windshield even more. If it’s been a while since your blades were changed, swap them out. Visibility when driving is crucial! Be sure to refill your windshield washer fluid as well.
  • Get regular washes and waxes. Routinely washing the salt and other debris off of your vehicle during winter is vital to protecting your paint job and the underlying sheet metal. A good layer of wax acts as a sealer, continuing to protect the paint after it’s been washed.
  • Make an Emergency Kit. Breaking down on the highway in the summertime is a nuisance. In Winter, on the other hand, it can be a deadly nightmare. Be sure that your trunk is packed with plenty of blankets to keep your family warm in case of a break down or if you need to assist someone else. Other essential items to have include a first aid kit, flares, flashlights, gravel or kitty litter for traction, and a shovel.

November 19, 2012 by Jamie Rettig