How to Winterize Your Car for Old Man Winter
By: Good2GoPublished: December 31, 2014
Winter is here which means snow, sleet and icy rain will make their way into our daily commute. And if your vehicle isn’t equipped to take on Old Man Winter, you’re in for a rude awakening. Driving in severe winter weather requires a great deal of concentration and split-second decision making. So before you hit the road this winter, use these tips to help winterize your car.
How to Winterize Your Car
During the colder months, it’s important to make sure your car’s fluids are always topped up, starting with your cooling system. Replace the coolant (antifreeze) in your radiator with a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant. If your solution is too weak, the coolant will freeze up and damage your system.
You should also make sure that the gas tank is as full as possible. There’s nothing worse than being stranded in the middle of a blizzard because you ran out of gas. In addition, keeping your fuel topped up will prevent your fuel lines from freezing up. Right now, gas prices are pretty reasonable, so stock up as often as you can.
In addition to coolant and gas, you may also want to consider replacing your windshield washer fluid or keeping an extra container in your trunk. Snow and sleet can create a lot of buildup on your windshield which can compromise road visibility, so having enough washer fluid in your reservoir will be a lifesaver.
Speaking of windshields, check your windshield wiper blades as over time they will wear and tear.
Even if your windshield wiper blades appear to be in good condition, you might want to trade in your current wipers for rubber coated snow blades that can handle the extra weight of snow.
Freezing temperatures can reduce your car’s battery power by up to 50 percent. That’s why it’s important for you to have your battery checked before cold weather strikes. If the battery is more than four years old, it may be time to replace it. That’s theoretically the length of time it takes for the battery’s chemical composition to break down. Get your battery tested by a mechanic to get a clearer picture of your battery’s lifespan.
When gearing up to battle the snow, invest in snow tires. Unlike regular tires, snow tires provide better traction and grip on the snow and ice. Their tread is designed to help your car slow down and slop of slippery roads. Once you’ve got a brand new set of snow tires, check their pressure regularly. When the temperature drops, your tires will likely lose air pressure. Also make sure there is air in the spare tire and that you have all of the necessary tire-changing equipment in your vehicle. For additional tips on tire safety, read this post.
Winter Driving Checklist
If there is a winter storm headed your way or if you just want to stay prepared, here is a list of important items you should keep in your trunk:
- A snow brush, ice scraper and shovel
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit
- Tow rope
- A blanket, warm clothes, hat and gloves
- Water-proof matches
- A bag of salt or kitty litter (for added tire traction)
- Extra food and water
If at any point you become stranded or trapped in your car, remain calm. Look for mile markers, road signs or landmarks so you can tell emergency services where you are. Knowing your location will let you get help faster. Wait inside your vehicle and call 911. To help make yourself visible to other drivers, turn on your emergency flashers. If you are able to safely exit the vehicle, use your emergency flares for added visibility.
Turn off your engine to conserve as much fuel and battery life as possible. This is especially important if you are in a situation where it will be difficult for police and emergency services to reach you. If you must run your engine, do so sparingly. Open the windows and clear the exhaust pipe of snow and debris to increase ventilation and prevent asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Use these winter driving tips to stay safe during the holidays.
Good2Go wants you to drive safe – and affordably. Find out how you can protect yourself with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a car insurance quote today.
Photo Credit: Андрей Романенко/WikiCommons