Tips to make sure your car is okay for this coming winter

Winter Preparation For Your Car | Auto Oil Changers

Tips to make sure your car is okay for this coming winter

 

Winters can be hard on you and your car alike. The cold temperatures, and cold rain can all cause damage to your vehicle or leave you in an unsafe situation if your car breaks down. As you prepare for the coming winter months, take these easy steps to ensure your car is in good shape for winter.

Check your tires

As temperatures drop and rain comes the roads get slick very quickly. Your tires are the only points of contact between your vehicle and the ground, so you want to be sure they’re in the best shape possible. Start by checking the tire pressure with a pressure gauge. You should follow the instructions in your vehicle’s manual for recommended tire pressure levels for winter. If the pressure is too high, simply let some of the air out. If it’s too low, head to a gas station or service center to fill up your tires. The air stations are usually cheap or free.

In addition to tire pressure, you’ll need to examine the tread depth on your tires. Tread wears down over time and lessens your vehicle’s ability to grip the road. Low tread can be particularly dangerous in winter when roads are at their most slippery, so be sure to check the tread on your tires heading into winter. Simply put a penny into the tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing inward. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires. Taking these steps to ensure your tires are in good shape will help keep you on the road and provide for easier, smoother driving in winter.

Get an oil change to winter oil

If you’re approaching the due date for an oil change, head in to get your vehicle’s oil changed before the cold weather hits. Getting your oil changed will help keep your engine running smoothly and give you the opportunity to switch to winter-grade oil. In cold weather, oil tends to thicken, so you’ll likely want thinner oil in winter. Be sure to check your vehicle manual for advice on what grade of oil is best for it in winter depending on where you are driving.

Check antifreeze, engine coolant and windshield wiper fluids

Cold temperatures mean freezing, and that can be an extremely detrimental equation when applied to your vehicle. Before cold weather hits, you should check all of the fluids in your vehicle to ensure they are at proper levels and are at the right quality. If liquids are too low, they can freeze in your vehicle, creating a hassle and a potentially expensive repair. Be sure to inspect the antifreeze levels, the engine coolant composition and the levels of your windshield wiper fluid. You can also switch out your windshield wiper fluid for a winter version, which is better tailored to cold temperatures and won’t freeze on your windshield. Keep extra windshield wiper fluid handy to top it off regularly throughout winter. It’s also wise not to let your gas tank near empty during the winter to prevent your gas lines from freezing.

Replace windshield wiper blades

A key element of driving in winter weather is making sure you can see. If you haven’t replaced your windshield wiper blades in more than a year, you may be due for an upgrade. You want to be sure your windshield wipers can clear rain and residue you get caught driving in the middle of a storm.

Perform other routine maintenance or get a vehicle inspection

If there are aspects of maintenance you’ve been putting off or you have concerns about how a certain system in your vehicle is operating, now is the time to get those issues addressed. You don’t want to head into winter with any lingering issues in your vehicle, because a breakdown in cold weather can be far more dangerous than being stranded mid-summer. The best way to have peace of mind is to get a full vehicle inspection that includes checking the brakes, rotating tires as needed, checking the transmission, checking the battery and more. A full inspection will help ensure there aren’t any little issues you’re missing as you head into the most taxing driving season for your vehicle.

Pack a winter emergency kit

In addition to ensuring all of the elements of your vehicle are ready to go for winter, you should add an emergency kit to your trunk just in case something goes wrong. You should include a a flashlight, batteries, a bag of sand, some high energy snacks, road flares, a first aid kit, tire changing equipment, clothes to appropriately match the temperature, a phone charger and jumper cables.