Time to start preparing your car for winter. Frigid weather is hard on your car. And if anything goes wrong with it, you are also out in the cold. Some basic preparations will greatly minimize the likelihood of a basic component of your vehicle breaking down this winter.
|On the road in winter, carry an emergency kit|
- Check the tires. Tires should have enough tread of the appropriate design to deal with ice and snow in your area. Consider snow tires, tire siping, and studded tires (Note: siping and studs may not be legal in your area). It’s also a good idea to have snow chains in your trunk.
- Check your engine coolant. A simple floating ball antifreeze gauge can tell you whether you have a sufficient percentage of antifreeze to stay liquid at the very coldest temperature a winter in your area can deliver.
- Check the battery. Turning over a cold engine could give an old or weak battery a heart attack. For winter starting, get the strongest battery that will fit in your battery compartment. Carry a set of battery cables in your trunk.
- Check your oil. Make sure it is at the manufacturers recommended viscosity for the temperatures you will be driving in. You don’t want your oil to be like molasses in January.
- Check your belts and hoses. During weather extremes – hot or cold – are the worst times to have these basics break up.
- Check your window washer fluid. Make sure the reservoirs – front and back – are full and have not turned into a slushy right when you are hit with dirty highway slop.
- Consider installing an engine block heater. A warm engine is much easier for a battery to turn over.
- Carry an emergency kit. There is no end to what you could throw into one of these, but you can begin with a blanket, flashlight, flares, tire inflator kit, rags, ice scraper, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, pliers, Vise Grips, first aid kit, and emergency food.