How to Prepare Your Car for Winter
Now’s the time to get your car up to speed on all of its regular maintenance. That means taking care of any fluids that may have been neglected while you were out enjoying the summer sun or going in for that 60,000-mile tune-up if you’re due. Check, change and/or top off your oil, coolant, brake and transmission fluid as needed. In the case of your oil or automatic transmission, make sure you get a high-quality filter, too. It may seem like overkill to take care of all of your fluids at once, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Go ahead and have your tires rotated and inspected. The last thing you need in cold, wet weather is to be driving on bald or dry rotted tires. Err on the side of caution and replace any tires that are too worn.
You can’t discount the impact weather can have on the interior of your vehicle either. If you’re going to spend a lot of time ducking in and out of the elements, you might want to grab some all-weather floor mats. They’re easy to clean and do a great job of keeping the muck in one place. Making sure your windows are clean will also improve visibility and reduce the likelihood of steamy glass.
Our most important tip is to take the time to get your car’s coolant system checked. Extreme temperatures and harsh conditions can knock it out easily if it’s not up to snuff. If any part of the system comes up with a shaky bill of health, swap the parts for new ones. That means having your car’s radiator pressure tested and the hoses examined for cracks or bulges. Most shops can quickly test radiators without the hassle of having to remove them from the vehicle.
Stranded by the side of the road can be dangerous in the best of conditions, but when sub-zero temperatures or bad weather is involved, it can be downright deadly. Carrying these supplies may save your life:
– jumper cables
– a flashlight
– a first-aid kit
– a small knife
– a couple energy bars
– small shovel
– waterproof matches
– ice scraper
– a bag of sand or kitty litter to help provide traction if your car is stuck in the snow