How to Prepare Your Car for winter
Freezing winter, with blizzards and snow all over, can greatly affect your driving experience. How? All pliable parts of your vehicle tend to become more fragile and rigid.
And sadly, it leads to many car complications and escalate unexpected expense of emergency repairs!
So, before the first frost of this winter hits your windshield, here are some tips that can help you avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold.
Maintain Your Battery:
The oil inside the engine gets thicker during cold winters. This makes it hard for the engine function freely. Thus, the engine requires more amperage from the battery to function efficiently. But, the chemical reaction that generates electricity is slower at lower temperatures, so your battery cannot produce its normal amount of energy during this period.
However, checking the battery from time to time will help you stay on top of any maintenance issues. Give a thorough look on the battery cables and clamps for corrosion or fraying. If you find a white powdery matter around the clamps, it is corrosion from battery acid. You can clean it off easily with baking soda and water (using a toothbrush)
Also, make sure that your battery is filled with enough electrolytes. You can check it by removing the caps of the battery. If the level of electrolyte is low, fill the holes with distilled water. P.S Car batteries only last between 3-5 years.
Get rid of compost:
Organic matters like leaves and twigs don’t just cause havoc with your gutters, but can damage your car too. When some trash or debris enters the regions of your car, where water is supposed to flow, it can cause corrosion and leaks. The hot spot of this issue is the air plenum near the windshield.
Sometimes, smaller insects build nests under the hood. This usually happens when vehicles have not been operated for a longer period of time. During such cases, you may even need help of a mechanic.
Get winter tires:
Even though many people still prefer to rely on all-season tires, the fact is that winter tires (snow tires) are the safest option when the temperatures begin to fall. These tires are designed in such a way that they can withstand any snowy and icy roads. The snow tires keep better tread grip and road contact – this feature comes really useful where roads are covered with snow. During winter, the roads can be extremely slick due to the slush created from other vehicles running over the snowy road. The tread patterns and rubber compounds of winter tires make them quieter on dry roads and even more effective on frozen areas.
FYI, the tread is designed with special patterns which allow the tire to dig into snow and create a grip. This not just provides a smooth ride but also avoids your vehicle getting stuck in the snow.
Check your lights:
In winter’s gloomy and short days, every last lumen you can squeeze out of your headlight will improve your visibility as well as safety. So, don’t forget to clean your headlamp and rub car wax on it. Further, let it dry and buff it off. This will make your driving experience a lot better.
If the lights have scratches, contamination, cloudiness or oxidation, winter is not the right time to overlook these issues. Remove all the unwanted substances without any trace. For headlight restoration, you can consult with professionals as well.
Check your tire pressure:
Tires lose a pound of pressure for every drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperatures drop, air contracts and molecules get closer together. This reduces the volume and causes tires to lose their pressure. Underinflated tires highly increase braking distances and affect steering and handling. Additionally, it can also cause irregular wear and overheat, which sometimes even causes blowouts.
This is why knowing the pressure of your tire is extremely crucial.
Steps to check your tire pressure
Open the cap from the tire valve
Make sure that the gauge’s measurement stick is totally inside the tire gauge
Place the open end of the gauge over the tire valve stem
Once the measuring stick shoots out, note down the number on the far right of the stick. (This is the pressure in pounds per square inch).
You can repeat the process 2-3 times to get the accurate pressure
Apply the same procedure for all your tires
Keep Emergency Kit
Winter can bring an increased risk of getting stuck in your car. So, make sure that you carry a Winter Survival Kit. Keeping your car stocked with necessary items can help you big time to deal with every emergency.
Emergency Kit checklist:
– Windshield scraper – Small broom – Flashlight with extra batteries – Water – Extra hats and socks – Sleeping bag/ blanket – Roadmaps – Snack food – Matches and candles – Candy bars – Battery powered radio – Medications – Rope
May you have a happy winter ride!