As winter settles in, it’s important to remember to take extra care of your car. Why? Because cold weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle, and no one wants to deal with car trouble in the middle of a snowstorm.
Here are the best car maintenance tips to keep in mind this winter.
Table of Contents
#1: Check Your Battery
Cold weather can cause your car battery to lose power, so it’s essential to have it checked regularly. If you think your battery might possibly be on the way out, get it replaced before winter hits. In case of trouble, keep a set of jumper cables handy, too.
#2: Get Your Tires Checked
Tire pressure drops in colder temperatures, so getting your tires checked and inflated to the proper level is vital. This is why you might get a sensor warning on that first chilly morning of the year. You should also consider getting snow tires if you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice.
#3: Change Your Wiper Blades
You rely on your wipers to help you see in inclement weather, so ensure they’re in good condition. Winter weather can be tough on blades, so it’s a good idea to change them for a new set before the season starts.
#4: Check Your Lights
Good visibility is crucial in winter weather, so ensure all your lights are in working order. This includes your headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights. If needed, replace bulbs or clean the lens covers.
#5: Keep Your Gas Tank Full
It’s always a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full, but it’s especially important in winter. This will help stop your fuel line freezing during subzero temps.
#6: Get Your Car Serviced
Before winter hits, take your car in for a tune-up to make sure everything is in good working order. This will help you avoid any unexpected breakdowns when the weather gets bad.
#7: Pack an Emergency Kit
If you find yourself stranded in bad weather, having an emergency kit in your car is a good idea. This should include a flashlight, flares, a first-aid kit, and a blanket. You should also add things like bottled water, dry snacks that won’t freeze, and a phone charger.
#8: Keep Your Windows Clear
Good visibility is critical when driving in winter weather, so ensure your windows are clean and clear. This includes your windshield, side windows, and rear window.
#9: Know Your Route
Before you head out in bad weather, take some time to familiarize yourself with your route. This way, you’ll know the best way to get where you’re going and avoid any trouble spots. If possible, use a smartphone app to track your drive.
#10: Take It Slow
When driving in winter weather, it’s important to take things slow. This means leaving extra space between you and the car in front of you and being extra careful when braking and turning. And pull over if aggressive drivers are making it difficult to be safe.
#11: Leave Early
In winter weather, it’s always best to leave earlier than you think you need to. This way, you can take your time and avoid feeling rushed or stressed.
#12: Don’t Warm Up Your Car in an Enclosed Area
If you need to warm up your car, make sure you do it in an open area. This will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, don’t leave your vehicle running unattended in the driveway either, as this can be a prime target for theft.
#13: Keep Your Coolant Level Up
Your coolant level should be checked regularly and topped off if necessary. This will help keep your engine from freezing in cold weather.
#14: Use the Proper Antifreeze/Coolant Mixture
Be sure to use the proper antifreeze/coolant mixture in your car. Doing so will help keep your engine from freezing in cold weather.
#15: Do Not Pour Hot Water on a Frozen Windshield
Pouring hot water on a frozen windshield can crack the glass, so avoiding this is best. Instead, use a plunger or an ice scraper to remove the ice. These handy little tools are available at local hardware stores for only a couple of bucks and are well worth keeping around.
#16: Keep Your Car Clean
In winter weather, it’s essential to keep your car clean. This includes removing any snow or ice that has accumulated on your vehicle. You’ll also want to take care of any salt accumulation, which can cause rust and corrosion.
#17: Use the Defrost Setting on Your Car
When using your car’s heater, use the defrost setting. This will help prevent your windshield from fogging up. Additionally, it can help keep ice and snow from accumulating on the glass.
#18: Invest in Snow Tires
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, investing in snow tires is a good idea. These tires are specifically designed to provide better traction in winter weather.
Then, at the end of the season, you can simply swap them out for your regular tires.
#19: Don’t Travel if You Can Avoid It
If at all possible, try to avoid traveling in poor weather. This will help you stay safe and prevent any accidents. There’s no destination worth your life or that of someone you love.
#20: Check the Weather Forecast Before Traveling
Before heading out in winter weather, be sure to check the forecast. This way, you can plan your route and be prepared for any conditions you may encounter. Most news stations also offer traffic reports, which make it easy to see where the potential for slick spots or other hazards is.
Wrap Up: Winter Car Safety Tips
Driving in ice and snow is no joke, meaning it is vital to prepare your vehicle and alter your driving habits accordingly. Following these tips will help you stay safe on the road this winter. So be sure to keep them in mind the next time you hit the road.