Winter is finally upon us, and as snow and ice have begun to cover the roads, it is there critical to take necessary steps to prepare your car for the increased driving hazards. Although safety must be considered throughout the year, there are some vehicle maintenance jobs and safety checks that are specific to winter driving which must be performed. To ensure that you don’t get to spend the holiday stuck on the road, or spend your holiday budget on unexpected repairs, you must take the time to look into your car’s condition to be sure that its parts and machinery are in good shape.
Easy Winter Car Maintenance Tips
With the holiday season fast approaching, it is very easy to forget about the upkeep of your vehicle. Before you get too far into the season, you must first make sure that you perform some much needed winter car maintenance to ensure road safety. Additionally, performing the necessary maintenance will help you save time and money as the season progresses. Here are some maintenance tips you can follow:
Tune-up your car. If you haven’t brought your car into an automobile shop for a long time, winter is the time to do so. Proper car tune-up will help keep your vehicle running longer, and it will help you avoid huge costs on repair in the long run since it helps detect potential problems early on.
Inspect the condition of your tires. During winter, the roads will be slippery and icy. Your tires are your best line of defense against accidents. They are essential in giving you control and stability. For this reason, you must inspect the pressure and wear of your tires. Additionally, you must check if your tires are properly inflated to avoid running into trouble. You should also consider buying a set of snow tires which are created specifically for snowy or icy conditions.
Check your car’s oil and other fluid levels: You must make sure that you have the right oil for your vehicle. There are certain types of oil that do not perform well in the cold; thus, you need to ensure that your oil is good for the cold and change it if needed. In addition, the fluids and coolants for your brake, power steering, transmission, and windshield washers must be filled to proper levels. When the fluids are at the appropriate levels, your vehicle will perform better and you will avoid potential problems that can lead to huge costs.
Check your battery: To ensure that your battery is in good condition, you can consider putting your battery up for a load-test. This procedure is very cost-effective and it can help you avoid problems down the road. You must find out if your battery is still good or if it needs to be changed.
Basic Safe Driving Tips
Aside from performing the basic winter car maintenance steps, you must also learn how to drive safely, especially during bad weather. For instance, did you know that it will be harmful to use cruise control during icy conditions? Here are some of the other safe driving tips that will help you stay safe and in control during the worst winter conditions.
- You must remember to keep your gas tank at least half full. This will help you avoid getting a gas line freeze-up.
- To help you avoid skids and regain traction, you must press your gas pedal slowly when you try to accelerate your vehicle.
- When approaching a stop light, take your time to hit the break. You must understand that it will take longer for your vehicle to slow down when the roads are covered in ice.
- Avoid applying extra gas on snow-covered roads since it will only make your wheels spin.
Here are some additional things you need to remember when driving down the icy and dangerous roads during winter:
- Essential things every vehicle must have: ice scraper, small shovel, tow chains, and jumper cables.
- Emergency kit: warm clothes, blanket, gloves, boots, flashlight, extra food and water, first aid kit, extra batteries, road flares, and extra cash.
- Winter car kit: cat litter or sand to help for tire traction on icy roads and de-icing liquid
- Liz.”snowy car 2″. Feb 25, 2006. Online Image. EveryStockPhoto. Dec 11, 2012
- License: Creative Commons image source
The author, Kris Lim, is a prolific blogger who offers winter car maintenance and safe driving tips. She also regularly contributes to car maintenance and repair shops, such as AWS Automotive, that offers a wide array of services to keep vehicles in excellent condition all year round.