How to Winterize Your Car for Safe Cold Weather Driving

by | Dec 18, 2020 | Defensive Driving

As the end of the year approaches, cold weather encroaches upon us. You don’t want to get caught stranded in your car when the weather gets scary.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be caught off guard by cold weather when it comes to your car. With some preparation, you can winterize your car and avoid any damage.

Winterize Your Car: Under the Hood

You can get a cold-weather check on your car and make sure your battery is operating well, you have an appropriate ratio of antifreeze, well-functioning brakes, and everything else in tip-top shape. All of these can be properly checked by an auto technician.

Car batteries work less efficiently in cold weather, so if your battery is already having issues, now is the time to get it replaced. It’s also recommended that you maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water to prevent corrosion and freezing, but you should check with your technician for the right coolant for your vehicle.

Belts, hoses, spark plugs, and cables are important to keep in working condition year-round, but it’s especially crucial to have your car serviced prior to the winter months. This guarantees that these parts won’t go bad and leave you stranded somewhere.

Tires

If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, it might be a good idea to invest in snow tires (and even chains) if you plan to drive through steep roads. Snow tires will help provide better traction on the roads in cold weather and slippery conditions.

Also, did you know that for every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tires lose one pound of pressure? Just like in any other weather, low tire pressure could lead to a flat tire and dangerous driving conditions, but you definitely don’t want this when the temperatures drop.

Of course, winter driving with any kind of tire requires some different considerations. You can check out the DriveSafe Online® Defensive Driving Courses for more help in driving safely in any weather.

Windows

Being able to see out of your windows when the temperature drops and snow starts falling is also critical. Winter wipers can be useful to keep ice from collecting on the blades (but you probably want to remove them once spring rolls around).

It’s also a good idea to keep your washer fluid full, as you will likely go through much more fluid in winter weather. You might also want to consider switching to a freeze-resistant fluid.

Emergency Kit

Now that we’ve taken care of the inner workings of your car, it’s also a good idea to have some emergency supplies on hand in case you happen to need them.

This is a good idea to have at all times, but especially in dangerous winter weather. Some good things to have in your emergency kit include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains
  • Warm clothing
  • Snack foods and water bottles
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra coolant
  • Bag of sand and a shovel

The exact items you’ll want to have may vary, but you can never be too prepared!

Stay Safe and Stay Warm!

Winterize your car to stay safe and warm this winter. It’s more important now than ever to stay prepared as we do more and more winter driving. However, with some prior planning, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Feel free to contact us for more information on driving safely!

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