It’s that time again. The leaves are quickly changing and the days are getting shorter . If summer is any indicator as to what we can expect for winter….we might be in for a real harsh one. It’s very important that you start to prepare your vehicle for the long cold winter that will soon be upon us.
We have listed below some helpful maintenance tips and advice to keep your car running strong and smoothly all winter long.
According to AAA, inclement weather can pose challenges for even the most experienced driver.
Because the probability of accidents and property damage increase during the winter months, it is wise to plan for adverse weather driving conditions. AAA states three factors that can help reduce occurrences: prepare your vehicle, plan your journey in advance (if you can), and drive cautiously while on the road.
Preparing Your Vehicle-The COLD HARD FACTS!
You would never consider hitting the ski slopes without bundling up in protective gear for your body, face and hands, right? The same should go for your vehicle.
- Have the battery and charging system tested. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. (You don’t want to be surprised with a dead battery as you head out to work in the morning or worse yet…when you’re getting ready to leave work at the end of the day!)
- Have the brakes checked to ensure they work properly and apply smoothly, which helps prevent the wheels from locking on slick surfaces.
- Make sure the tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous, and may suffer damage. Remember, the air pressure in your tires will decrease 1-2 psi for every 10 degree drop in outside temperature (kinda like when you buy a helium balloon for your kids’ birthday party and it deflates as soon as you walk out of the store.)
- Use the tire size recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer for best snow traction. Overly wide tires tend to float on top of the snow, reducing grip.
- Make sure the engine coolant provides anti-freeze protection down to the lowest temperatures you expect are likely to encounter (in Ohio…expect the unexpected go with a -30*F/-34*F as a good guideline.)
- Visibility is critical in adverse weather conditions, so replace worn windshield wipers that streak, and be sure the washer reservoir is filled with a winter solvent that will not freeze.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to minimize condensation buildup that can lead to gas line freeze-up. If the fuel in your area does not already contain alcohol, use a gas line “dryer” additive periodically to absorb moisture.
- Carry a winter driving kit for use in the event of an emergency. The kit should include a small bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter), a mall snow shovel, a snow brush, traction mats, a flashlight with new batteries, window solvent, an ice scraper, a cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, a blanket, warning devises (flares or triangles), drinking water and extra clothes.
- Program your radio for AM 530 or 1610 stations, as you may see signs referencing those frequencies for important traffic advisories.
- Carry a cellular phone and car charger. Program important phone numbers for emergency and roadside assistance providers. (such as AAA)
Last but not least, we’re going to suggest you consider getting OnStar for your vehicle if you haven’t already. The peace of mind it offers is definitely worth the small monthly fee. Whether your in an accident, get stranded on the road, or can’t find your keys, OnStar will help you.
Remember, severe weather causes hazardous driving conditions. Always be sensible and drive with caution. If you’re running late, it’s not worth it to speed. Be safe and be courteous of other drivers on the road!