4 "Must-Dos" for Winter Car Prep!
♫ As the snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. ♫
I’m holding my breath, wishing and hoping, as I slowly turn the key in the ignition one more time. Please car, please start! Please start, and I promise to get you a brand new battery tomorrow.
I can’t bear the thought of hearing “I told you so” from my husband if I have to call him to come get me and the kids again. Thankfully, there was a purr… stutter… purr… VROOM! Phew!
With this first snowstorm of the year out of the way, I figured it was a perfect time to make sure my car is ready for whatever the winter has in store for us. Sure, it would have been better to do this before the first storm, but here we are, better late than never! While a remote car starter, 4-wheel drive and a defroster can get you going in the snow, there are plenty of other essentials you’ll need to keep you going safely.
- Fill ‘er Up! In the winter, it is best to keep your gas tank as full as possible. According to Bankrate, “As temperatures change during the day, condensation forms on the inside of the gas tank, drips into your gas, descends to the bottom and finds its way into your fuel line. Because the fuel line is exposed, if enough water accumulates there, it will freeze and you won't be going anywhere soon.” In addition to gas, you’ll want to keep your vehicle’s windshield wiper fluid filled, preferably with “no-freeze” or winter mixture.
- Electronics & Wires. Did you know that your vehicle’s battery loses 33% of its power when the temperature dips below freezing? Help your battery out by checking the cables, posts & fasteners. Then, if you are still concerned, get it checked by a professional. They’ll be able to see any hidden corrosion and check for sufficient voltage. Other electronics to test are your heat and defrost. Operating a vehicle in frigid winter temperatures without either of these is not recommended.
- Tires, Tires, Tires! Did I mention tires? Whether you have your regular tires, snow tires, or studded tires, be sure they are inflated to the recommended pressures. Make sure there is sufficient tread by sticking a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you’ll want to start watching for tire sales!
- Service Please! Vehicle maintenance is important year-round, however, winter challenges your car more than any other season, so start the season off right by making sure your vehicle is in its optimal condition. Get an entire vehicle checkup, soup to nuts, or in car terms, oil to bolts! Make sure they check your oil, anti-freeze, hoses, and brakes – any leak or bad hose should be repaired or replaced. Spending a little now could save you a lot later.
Investing an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to give you peace of mind and help you avoid those extra costs and additional hassle caused by breaking down in severe weather. For a complete list, check out the checklist and tips for safe winter driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ever been stuck on the side of the road, in the winter weather unprepared? Share your story below!
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