WHAT SHOULD I DO TO ‘WINTERIZE’ MY VEHICLE?
Change Your Oil – No really, Change it. During the winter months, by using engine oil that is thinner – and less viscous – you will be protecting the walls of your engine and all the parts in between, from the harsh effects of extreme temperatures. Since thicker engine oil doesn’t flow as easy as when it’s warmer outside, using a thinner variety ensures your engine oil properly flows to all necessary areas, even during subzero temps.
Make Sure The Anti-Freeze Really Is Anti-Freezing.
Anti-freeze solution found in most automotive stores and the like, is basically a mixture of equal parts solution and water. The added chemicals are what make it possible for the liquid in the vehicle’s radiator stay a liquid for much longer than if it was just plain water. When preparing for winter, make sure the solution is in fact equal parts as opposed to too much water. The easiest way to check this is by using a simple antifreeze tester gadget.
Double-Check That Duracell.
No matter which brand of battery you have in your vehicle, it is essential to double-check its power and all the connections before you venture out into winter weather. Not only does battery power lose up to half its normal power during colder months, the worse thing that can happen is for the battery to die, leaving you stranded in the midst of very cold conditions.
Get Tires With the Right Traction.
Not all winter climates are as treacherous as others but if there is snow and ice to be expected, the need for quality, snow tires is a must. Proper tire tread and traction is the key to optimum driving conditions that mean your vehicle can operate safely regardless of how much snow and ice is on the roads. Even extreme cold temps alone can contribute to extra slick road surfaces; yet another reason to be prepared with the appropriate tires.
Make First Aid a First Priority.
Among other top priorities, making sure you are lined up with ample first aid supplies and other emergency equipment is a sure-fire way to protect yourself from situations of harm, due to the winter. Keeping a relatively short list of items handy can make the all the difference in basic survival if you are faced with being stranded or without access to help. Warm blankets, a flashlight, first aid supplies, extra food and water plus basic car reviving equipment (jumper cables, tire and tool kits and tire chains) – all are as useful as they are essential. You should also include standard winter snow and ice removal tools plus extra anti-freeze and windshield fluid.
Seeing Is Everything – Check Your Windshield Wipers.
During the harshest of winter conditions, a simple thing like a windshield wiper blade that is not functioning properly can make a huge difference in your driving experience. To avoid sudden or unexpected discovery of less-than-perfect wipers and wiper fluids, check all systems and parts before winter sets in.
Put the Pressure ON – The Tire Pressure, That Is.
By simply checking and optimizing your vehicle’s tires with the right amount of air pressure, you will be taking a major step toward safe, winter driving. When tires are not properly inflated, it can and does result in too little actual tread to road exposure. Simply put, if enough tire surface is not hugging the road, the vehicle is unstable and there is an increased risk of accidents. This holds especially true in the winter, when colder temps and icy roads exacerbate driving conditions and you need the maximum tire traction possible.
Many people choose to keep their vehicle maintained throughout the year, so when winter comes around they need only to double check a few of the car, truck or SUVs systems to make sure that everything is in order. By following these few simple tips, you can ensure the safest possible winter, with the least number of accidents and difficult situations, hopefully preventing them altogether. As with anything that requires a little care, if you put a bit of time, energy and money toward winterizing your vehicle, you will likely save a LOT more time, energy and money in the long run.