Heavy snow and freezing temperatures mean that it’s time to get your car ready to embrace the elements. No one wants to end up stuck on the side of the road in cold weather. Follow our seven simple tips to get your car in tiptop shape for winter.
1. Have Tools on Hand: For peace of mind, keep an emergency kit in the car. Place items like first aid supplies, an LED flashlight, car phone charger, hazard triangles, ski hats, emergency blankets and an ice scraper in the trunk and replenish as necessary.
Tip: Be sure to periodically replace the batteries in your flashlight.
2. Consider Assistance: It’s also a good idea to become a member of a roadside assistance program, since it ensures you’ll be provided with towing services should your vehicle break down.
3. Get a Tune-up: Let the pros inspect your vehicle so they can spot potential problems before they become dangerous or expensive. They’ll also top off necessary vehicle fluids and check to make sure the air filter is in good shape for the winter.
4. Look into Snow Tires: If you live in an area prone to heavy snow or icy roads, it’s a good idea to swap your tires with versions made to handle wintry weather. If you don’t want snow tires, make sure to check the pressure and tread wear on your current tires.
5. Control Wintry Mess: Keep plastic or fabric bags in your car to store wet or muddy items, and then toss them in the laundry when they need to be cleaned.
6. Check Wiper Blades: Ice and snow wear down wiper blades and can make them ineffective when you need them the most. Replace the blades as soon as you see signs of wear and tear. A good set of wiper blades should last about a year, but less in particularly rainy or snowy/icy climates.
Tip: Turn wipers off after every car trip. If the blades are frozen or stuck, the next time the engine is turned on the motor can burn out trying to get the stubborn blades moving.
7. Check Fluid Levels: Frequently pop the hood and make sure that all fluids and coolants for your transmission, power steering, oil, windshield washers and brakes are filled to the proper levels suggested in the owner’s manual.