Preparing Your Car for the Winter

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Car Maintenance, Defensive Driving Online, Defensive Driving Tips

winter-driving
It is always important to carry out the necessary maintenance requirements on a vehicle, especially as the weather turns chilly, as neglecting to do so can have greater consequences and potentially cost you a lot of money. But as every other mechanic is offering “winter maintenance deals,” how can you know which things are essential, and which are simply costly and unnecessary? Here are some of the main things you need to do to prepare you car for winter.

windshield wipers

Depending on where you live, the rainy season may be over, but that does not mean that you do not need to maintain your windshield wipers. Whether you live in a place with lots of snow or not, you will need to make sure that your wipers are in good working condition. Most important is to replace your wiper fluid. Make sure that it is full, and that it is non-freezing.

check your battery

Colder temperatures are more likely to drain a car battery so, especially if you park your car outside, you should check the life of your battery. There are a lot of places that will do this for free for you, such as some car-parts stores. If you find out that your battery is dying, you will be glad that you replaced it now instead of risking being stranded somewhere.

tires

When driving in snowy or icy weather, having the right amount of tread on your tires can make a crucial difference. Most tires need to be replaced every three years or so, but if the tread is worn you may need to do this sooner. Furthermore, it is worth considering getting winter tires for the cold weather.

You should also check the tire pressure, as colder weather will make overall tire pressure decrease. Under-inflated tires can make for dangerous driving in the snow and ice.

stock up on de-icer

Keeping de-icer in the car can really help you out in a bind. You might also consider putting an emergency kit in the back of your car, including de-icer, as well as first aid essentials, water, and emergency winter tools such as a flashlights, basic repair tools, and so on. At the very least, make sure that you have a good ice scraper.

Another good tip is to wax your headlights at the beginning of the season. This will help to prevent snow from building up on them, making it safer for you to drive in the dark.

winter maintenance myths

Despite what you may have previously thought, it is unnecessary to let your car idle on a cold morning to “warm it up.” This will do nothing more than cost you extra gas money; a car generally only takes about 30 seconds to warm up, and probably does this better while you are driving.
There is another misconception that you have to flush and fill your antifreeze or engine coolant every winter. This is not the case, and most newer cars are good for up to five years.

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