Winter is almost among us, which means it’s that time of the year again for layering clothes, snow boots, and—every motorist’s enemy—icy road conditions. And just as you prepare yourself for winter weather, it’s also essential that you keep your vehicle on check to avoid the cost and hassle of a car breakdown.
Below are tips to help you gear your car up for winter.
- Give your vehicle a once-over
Before the first flake falls, make sure that your car is in good working order. Be sure to check the following:
- Battery – Car batteries can die without notice. Cold weather can especially reduce its life for up to 50 percent. Make sure your battery is in good condition to ensure optimum performance.
- Coolant – Aside from keeping your vehicle’s engine from overheating, your cooling system also protects it from corrosion. Thus, make sure the coolant sits between the maximum and minimum markers. It’s also important that the coolant has a sufficient mix of water and anti-freeze.
- Tyres – Don’t forget to check tyre tread and pressure. If the tread is already worn out, get a replacement immediately. You can easily search for tyres on a comparison site such as TyreCompare.
- Lights – Salt, dirt, and grime from winter roads can diminish the brightness of your lights. Ensure your front and rear lights, as well as your hazard lights are working properly.
- Wiper blades and fluid – Consider changing your regular wiper blades to those designed to cut through snow. Also make sure your wiper fluid is filled up and suitable for freezing conditions.
- Brakes – Slick roads can be treacherous. Have your brakes checked to avoid possible problems while driving.
- Have an emergency kit ready
There’s no telling when an accident could happen to you on the road. To keep yourself and your company safe for whatever conditions may come up on your trip, be sure to take note of the following:
- Before leaving, check that your phone is fully charged. Also bring a car charger for your phone.
- Throughout winter, it’s ideal to keep your gas tank at least half full. This will help minimize condensation and make it easier for your car to start especially on cold mornings.
- Storing a first-aid kit is definitely a must. Have all the usual items ready along with flashlights, blanket and warm clothes, water, and non-perishable food items.
- Make sure your spare tyre is in good shape, and stow all the tools you need to change it in your trunk.
- Always store a shovel, scraper and de-icer in your vehicle in case you have to deal with blocked roads or get stuck in a snow bank.
- Drive with care
Severe winter conditions can be dangerous even for the most experienced motorists, so it pays to be ready in case winter’s elements confront you. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Before you leave, check the internet or your local news for the most up-to-date announcements road advisories and weather forecasts.
- Plan your route ahead of time, and inform someone what route you’ll be taking so you can get help quick in case you get stranded.
- Accelerate gently, but don’t go too slow. Avoid sudden, quick movements to prevent skidding.
- Leave ample room between you and the car in front.
- When driving through fog or snow, always put your lights on so you can see and be seen.
Winter can be particularly tough on cars and motorists. By taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll be able to keep your car running well during the winter months and ensure you and your passengers are safe no matter the road condition.