Winter weather can provide a lovely background for holiday celebrations. It can also make the road and driving conditions far more challenging for both cars and drivers, as the extreme cold can negatively impact some major vehicle systems and equipment.
By taking the steps (discussed below) to winterize your vehicle, however, you can minimize your car’s susceptibility to the cold and, in doing so, reduce your risk of a crash or breakdown this winter season.
Winterizing Vehicles: 6 Things to Do to Get Your Car Ready for the Challenges of Winter
Check and possibly replace your tires – Your tires need to have at least 4/32” of tread for safe driving in wet conditions and at least 5/32” of tread to maintain sufficient traction in snowy conditions. So, check the tread on your tires, and get them replaced if they don’t have sufficient tread. Good tires are essential to safe winter driving.
- Refill your vehicle’s essential fluids – These fluids include (but are not necessarily limited to) the wiper fluid, the oil and the antifreeze. Also, when it comes to your vehicle’s fuel levels in the winter, try to keep your gas tank at least ¾ full at all times (this can prevent freeze ups and provide you with enough fuel to run your vehicle for a while if you are stranded on the roadside in the wintertime).
- Lubricate your vehicle’s locks – The cold of winter can cause lock freeze-ups, preventing you from getting into your car and/or trunk. So, spray the locks on your car with a door lock lubricant to reduce the risk of freeze-ups.
- Get your vehicle’s major systems serviced – Take your vehicle to a service center to get the engine, exhaust system, electrical system, lighting system and other major systems inspected and serviced, as needed. This can be essential to making sure your vehicle does not experience an equipment malfunction during your wintertime travels.
- Address recall fixes ASAP – If you have been notified that your vehicle has been subject to a recall, make sure that your vehicle gets the recall remedy before the extreme cold of winter sets in. This fix will most likely be free for you, and you may be able to have it completed when you take your vehicle in for a winter service.
- Load your vehicle with a winter safety kit – This kit should include essentials that can help you stay safe and/or get your vehicle back in action if you are stuck on the roadside (due to a crash or breakdown). We will discuss all of the essentials to include in these types of kits in one of our December blogs – so stay posted for it!
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