It may be bright and sunny now, but winter driving season will be here before you know it. Pretty soon, the snow will start to fall, and your winter driving skills will be put to the test.
This month Team Car Wash wants you to be ready for those inevitable driving challenges and now is the time to be prepared. Here are 10 things you can do to get your vehicle in top shape for the cold weather ahead.
- Assess your need for real winter tires. If all you get is the occasional snowstorm, you may be able to muddle through with all-season tires, but if you get severe snow, winter tires will give you greater traction and keep you safer on the road.
- Check your antifreeze levels. Your antifreeze will be working overtime when the temperatures start to drop. Now is the time to make sure the reservoir is full, and the antifreeze is still in good shape.
- Have your battery checked. Without a pre-winter check, you will never know when your battery will stop working, so make sure it has a full charge. If your battery life is questionable, swap it out now, before the snow begins to fall.
- Make sure your windshield washer fluid is topped off. You will be using your windshield wipers more in the winter, even when it is not raining. Make sure your wiper fluid is topped off and keep an extra bottle in your trunk.
- Give your headlights a good cleaning. Winter means early nightfall and more reliance on your headlights. An accumulation of dust, debris and bugs can dim your lights and diminish your nighttime visibility. Giving your headlights a good cleaning now can help you see better later.
- Put together your automotive emergency kit. You never know when a winter storm or sudden traffic jam will leave you stranded. Put together a basic automotive emergency kit, including road flares, a warm blanket, food and water and a spare charger for your cell phone. You should also have a basic first aid kit stashed in the trunk of your car.
- Consider replacing your windshield wiper blades. If you cannot remember the last time you changed your windshield wiper blades, you are probably overdue. If your wiper blades are worn, you could end up with streaks on your windshield, hampering your visibility in ice and snow.
- Examine the underside of your vehicle. It is easy to miss damage to the underside of your vehicle, so now is the time to check things out. Repair any damage you find before winter arrives and give the bottom of your car a good cleaning so road salt and dirt will not stick as readily.
- Keep a traction kit in your car. Few things are as frustrating as getting stuck on ice, so be prepared with a basic traction kit. A disassembled cardboard box can give you extra traction; just place the cardboard in front of the stuck tire. Non-clumping kitty litter can also help you get out of a tough spot; just sprinkle the litter generously in front of your tires.
- Check your tire pressure. The cold weather can cause air to seep out of your tires, so check the pressure and make sure it meets your car’s requirements. Be sure to keep a tire gauge in your glove box and check your tire pressure every time you fill the tank.
Whether you are ready or not, winter will be here before you know it and Team Car Wash wants you to be prepared. The steps you take now, before the ice and snow begin to fall, can protect you in harsh weather and help you stay safer on the road.