If you live somewhere that gets cold, snowy, dry, or icy during the winter and you drive, you likely already know how much of an impact the season can have on your car. You’ve got to sit and wait for your car to heat up in the mornings, dig the driveway out of a fluffy heap, and scrape ice off your windows. You’ve got to worry about slippery conditions and whiteout blizzards where you can’t see where you’re going. You also need to deal with the toll winter takes on your vehicle. The following will explore a few things you might want to do to help take care of your car throughout the winter.
First things first, get winter tires on your vehicle. If you’re new to a wintery climate, this is of the utmost importance and could have an impact on your health, safety, life, and vehicle. Get your tires changed and put your summer tires somewhere safe and sound with a lock. In recent years people have caught wind of the fact that they can make a pretty penny by breaking into people’s sheds and stealing their out-of-season tires. Every year people lose hundreds of dollars in stolen tires. Make sure yours are protected.
While it’s always important to get your car checked up, as winter hits, it can be especially important. Being stranded on the side of the road always sucks, but it especially sucks in below-freezing temperatures. It is good to remember that this Toyota dealer suggests getting a standard service done right before or early on in the season. This way, you’ll have time to address any concerns before the weather gets truly out of hand.
While you should always have a safety kit in your car in case of emergencies, there are a few extra items you might want to toss in for the winter. In addition to a full first aid kit, you might want emergency blankets (these come in teeny, tiny packages about the size of a wallet and capture and hold heat). You might also want some hand warmer packets which can be found in many hardware or camping stores. These palm-sized packages heat up when shaken and sometimes provide heat for a few hours. They can make a major difference in the experience of waiting on the side of the road for a tow truck.
Antifreeze can keep your window washer fluid from freezing on your windows and is a crucial part of winter vehicle maintenance. If you skip this step and try to clean your windows while driving, you’re going to find that visibility gets worse and worse.
If you live somewhere where the roads aren’t always plowed (or aren’t plowed particularly well), and you anticipate getting stuck from time to time, one of the best things you can do is keep some tire chains in your car. These nifty devices can be used on any vehicle, so you can also stop and help someone else who’s stuck with them.
While awareness might not seem like part of vehicle maintenance, it is. If you feel like something is off in your vehicle, trust that feeling and get it looked at. You know your car better than anyone, so you know when things feel a bit different. Likewise, one of the best things you can do for your car (and yourself) is to be aware of your own limitations. If the weather is particularly bad and you don’t feel confident driving, don’t drive. Even if it means you have to call your boss and say you can’t make it in today because the roads are too bad, even if it means you need to cancel your plans with friends, even if it means you’re stuck eating boring food from the back of the cupboard that you don’t really like, you need to admit when it’s not safe to drive. This can save your life and the lives of others. It can ensure that your car keeps functioning for years to come. It can save you massive amounts of money as towing isn’t cheap, and your insurance rates really don’t need another reason to be higher than they already are. Use your judgment and be honest with yourself. Your life is more important than any of your obligations.
The above information should have helped you get your car ready for winter. It’s important to note that all of these tips need to be done in addition to your standard car maintenance. It is also worth noting that when the temperature changes, air expands or shrinks, and this means that any time there’s a sudden, extreme change in temperature, you need to keep an eye on your tire pressure.