Just thinking about driving around during the winter is enough to make any driver shudder. During the cold, long winter months it’s important to be that much more careful when driving and take extra precautions. This means that all car owners should spend the necessary time and money to get their vehicle ready for winter. Here are 5 important ways to do so:
Buy Snow Tires
Think about all that you drive through in the winter: snow, ice, slush, hail, freezing rain, sleet. It’s not a pretty picture and it always results in slippery road conditions. Depending on where you live and how bad the conditions can get, all-season tires might not be up for the job. Consider purchasing snow tires that will improve your traction. If you can’t make the investment, check the tire pressure of your existing tires often throughout the winter months to ensure that they are properly inflated. Tire pressure can drop in cold weather which can be dangerous.
Replace Wipers and Washer Fluid
Windshield wiper arms are only at their most effective for about a year, so consider buying new ones before winter. Lots of dirt, sand, and salt is going to end up on the window as you drive and you obviously can’t drive safely if you can’t see. Most people use more windshield fluid in the winter than any other season, so be sure to keep an extra bottle in your car at all times to fill up when needed.
Change the Oil
It’s important to get regular oil changes no matter what the season, but it’s a smart idea to get one before winter. Oil can get thicker in the cold air which diminishes its quality. Tell your mechanic that you want to use oil that works well in the winter.
Make Sure the Heat is Working
Driving around in a car without heat in the winter is uncomfortable but it’s also unsafe. The heater blower motor is what heats the car and defrosts your windshields and without a defroster you will have severely limited visibility. Check that the heat is working before it gets too cold and get it checked out if you notice a funny smell or noise.
Stock Emergency Items
It’s important to have an emergency kit in your car no matter what season it is, but there are certain items that should be added in the winter like a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, gloves, boots, and blankets. You may even want to keep some extra clothes in the trunk. While this may seen excessive, it will come in handy if you break down during a snowstorm!