As fall begins to fade and hints of frost can be seen on the ground each morning, it’s time to think about winterizing your car.
Regular car maintenance can increase the life of your vehicle and save you a lot of money over time. Check out these four simple ways to ensure your car makes it through the next season of winter driving.
1. Snow tires
When preparing for winter driving, your first priority should be safety. Several independent studies have shown that snow tires offer significant performance advantages over all-season tires in snowy conditions.
Both accelerating and braking are positively affected by the snow tire’s ability to grab onto the icy surface of the road. If you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall, you should consider installing snow tires a regular step when winterizing your car.
2. Engine oil
A common misconception among motorists is that the “W” in motor oil ratings stands for ‘weight’ when it actually stands for “winter.” Motor oil ratings consist of two numbers separated by a “W.” You’ve probably seen 5W30 or 10W40 oil at your local gas station or auto parts store.
The first number refers to the oil’s viscosity at low, or “winter,” temperatures, while the second number refers to the viscosity at high temperatures. The type of car you have will determine which kind of motor oil you should use for winter driving, so check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to make sure you get the right one.
Since older car batteries are prone to performance problems in cold weather, have yours tested by a mechanic. You should also make sure that there is no visible corrosion on the battery terminals. If corrosion is visible, ask a mechanic whether it can be cleaned off, or if the battery should be replaced.
Having a collection of necessary tools and emergency safety items in your car at all times can help you avoid unpleasant roadside emergencies.
Here’s a short list of things you should keep in the car in preparation for winter driving:
- Ice scraper/snow brush – Brushes and scrapers come in different shapes and sizes but they all do the same thing. Just stay away from cheap, flimsy scrapers.
- First aid kit – Typical first aid supplies should include antiseptic cream, bandages, scissors and medical tape.
- Blanket – If your car breaks down, you’ll need to keep warm while waiting for a tow truck.
- Mobile phone – Keep a mobile phone charger in the car so you can make emergency calls if needed.
- Spare tire – Check the spare tire’s air pressure periodically to make sure it’s fully inflated.
- Jumper cables – These should be in your car at all times. Jumper cables can get you out of a tight spot in any weather if your battery loses its charge.
No matter how well you’ve winterized your car, or how good your winter driving skills are, make sure to insure your vehicle against unexpected events.
This is a guest post from Dale Cooper