When preparing your car for the winter, there are a few basic things that you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers. It doesn’t matter whether you are driving an older car or a brand new Toyota, these tips are helpful for all drivers experiencing winter conditions such as ice, sleet, rain, and snow.
Inspect Your Tires
Checking your tires is a good place to start. Old, worn out tires can be an accident waiting to happen. Physically examine your tires and look for bald, slick spots, punctures, tread, and wear. Check the treads on all of your tires all the way around. The common approach is to use a penny. Put the penny in the tread upside down and if President Lincoln’s hairline is visible, the tire should be replaced.
Maintain Fluid Levels
Having your radiator flushed, cleaned, and filled with a half and half solution of water and antifreeze will provide proper cooling to the engine while discouraging freezing. Getting all of your other fluids, such as wiper fluid, oil, and transmission fluid checked will ensure they are at the proper levels for your car. Checking your spark plugs and getting your battery tested for charge and water level will help to be sure your car will crank every time. Looking for splits and frays in your belts will also help to keep them operating under stress during the cold and prevent breakage.
Check Wipers and Signals
Examining your wipers for damage is also another important way to ensure your car is ready for the winter. You can help reduce the workload of your wipers by applying a deicer to your windshield. The deicer will make sure that the snow and ice that accumulates on your windshield overnight wipes away in the morning without much scraping. Making sure that your headlights, taillights, and turn signals are all in working order is also important because you want to make sure that you can see where you are going and everyone else can see you as well.
Carry Emergency Supplies
Winter proofing your car does not stop on the outside. Having a few necessities in the car can mean the difference in life and death. Carrying a map or atlas will be sure you know where you are and where you are going. Putting a small box of kindling, dry fire tinder, a fire starter, and a few pieces of dry wood will ensure a fire should you be stranded. A small metal container will help by melting snow for drinking water or purifying a questionable water source. Food items that need only need water added are great for keeping in your trunk, as well as extra bottled water. Flashlights with extra batteries are definitely something that will help you with seeing in the dark if you need to change a tire or check under the hood. When being stranded in the cold, you should definitely be prepared.