Battling the Elements: Winterizing your Vehicle
It’s that time of the year again! We’ve started bundling up to stay warm before we go outside, but what about our cars? With the cold weather in full force, ice and snowfall can be unexpected and just around the corner. It’s important to stay prepared during the winter season for anything mother nature may throw at us! Here are some suggested winterization preparation ideas to keep you safe on the road this winter.
Winter ICE (In Case of Emergency) Kit
We highly recommend keeping a Winter ICE Kit (pun intended) in the trunk of your car in case of emergency. If you are out driving in the cold and your vehicle breaks down, the most important thing is your safety. Recommended items to put in your ICE kit are: a flashlight, road flares, high-energy snacks like trail mix or beef jerky, bottles of water, a first-aid kit, blankets, toboggans/gloves, a bag of kitty litter or sand (can help you get unstuck from ice/slush), an ice scraper and a small shovel.
Check Your Fluids
Coolant levels should be monitored to make sure there is the correct mixture of water and antifreeze in order to prevent it from freezing inside of your engine. If conditions are expected to get cold enough, you may also want to switch to winter-grade oil, before doing this consult with your mechanic. Seemingly less important, windshield wiper fluid often goes overlooked when winterizing cars, but adding a fluid with antifreeze in it prevents it from freezing and improves visibility when the weather gets scary!
Check Tire Pressure and tread
Low tire pressure and low amounts of tread on your tires result in less traction. This means you’re more likely to slip and slide on wet or icy roads. Low tire pressure can be fixed with a cheap trip to the air pump at your local gas station, but low tread is more serious and should be handled by a professional mechanic to ensure your safety.
Check Battery Charge
As it gets colder, your battery capacity is reduced. This means when you head to the grocery store to buy some hot cocoa, you might get stuck in the cold parking lot with an engine that won’t start because of the battery! To avoid this unfortunate situation, you should check your battery as soon as it starts getting cold. Make sure no terminals are loose and that the battery fluid level is ok. We also recommend reading the charge level on your battery (find out how here) and get it recharged if the level is low. Check to see how old your battery is as well. On average, car batteries last about 4 years so replace yours before you get stuck in the cold! Brrr…
In general, the best thing to do in scary winter weather is to stay inside and stay warm, but we know that’s not always possible. We hope these tips and tricks prepare you for safety this winter!