If You Haven’t Done So Yet, It’s Time to Prepare Your Car for Winter
We have finally reached the point on the calendar in which it is winter, although depending on where you live in the country, it may feel like it’s the middle of winter.
Winter has only just begun, and so we thought it might be a good time to remind everyone of some tips that may help you keep your car safer when you’re driving in the snow and ice.
Remove snow and ice from your car before driving. Maybe it isn’t practical to get it all off, but you should make an effort to not drive what looks to other people like a giant snowball. After all, that snow and ice will come off, and it could come sloshing down your windows, making it difficult to see. It becomes very dangerous when that snow or ice could go flying onto another car, causing another driver to swerve their vehicle. In fact, some states have laws requiring people to remove snow and ice from their car – meaning you could be pulled over if you’re carrying half a foot of snow on your roof.
Drive slowly. Although this is quite obvious, we’ve often seen others drive in hazardous conditions like it was a 70-degree day and shaken our heads. If the roads are covered in snow and ice, you want to accelerate and decelerate carefully, and really take your time as you slow down for a traffic light.
Make sure your car is regularly serviced. It is especially important to bring your car in for service if there are any problems during the coldest months of the year. Check the age and condition of your car’s battery ahead of time so you don’t get in a bind when trying to start the car when the temperature dips. How are your wiper blades? If those have been giving you trouble for several months, you will want to get them changed before needing them to clear think slush and snow on the windshield.
And are your brakes in working order? If they’ve been screeching lately, you’d want to take them to be inspected and to possibly get new brake pads no matter what the season. You definitely don’t want to navigate patches of ice this winter with brakes that aren’t up to par.
It is important to have your car well-maintained no matter what the season, but if you’re going to pick a time to let the oil and filter changes lapse, and not have your tire pressure checked, make sure it is not in the winter.
Pack your car for possible trouble. Hopefully you won’t run into any problems during the winter, but just in case, you should probably have some emergency equipment in your trunk. This should include jumper cables, a flashlight or warning devices such as flares, in case you wind up somewhat on the side of the road in a blizzard, and you aren’t sure if other vehicles can see you. You should definitely have an ice scraper in your glove box as well. It might not hurt to have a shovel in the trunk, in case you become stuck in the snow, or perhaps sand or kitty litter, which you can put down in around your tires for better traction.
It is also recommended to have some blankets on hand, in case you wind up waiting in the car for an extended period, as well as water and food, all items that the United States Department of Transportation suggests you have in your car during the winter. They also suggest you keep your car phone fully charged.
Hopefully, many of these suggestions are strictly preventative and not needed for an emergency situation. But winter is a good time to plan ahead and make sure you and your car avoid some of the consequences of dangerous weather conditions. If you are unsure about the performance of some areas of your car, be sure to take it to your local Milex Complete Auto Care or Mr. Transmission for a full winter inspection.