Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

Colder weather is on the horizon which means that it's about time to get your vehicle ready for snow and ice. Given how cold it tends to get around here, it’s safe to say that many of you know a thing or two about getting ready for those colder temperatures and the snowy conditions that come with them but, even the most experienced winter survivor can miss a step (we’re all human after all). With that in mind take a look at these tips to get your car ready for winter.

Change Your Wipers - Switch out your normal wipers for winter-specific alternates. It’s a quick and inexpensive fix that will help keep you safe on the road.

Prep Your Fluids - Having all of your vehicle’s fluids topped off and properly prepared can mean the difference between smooth sailing and repeated visits to the service department. First of all, make sure that you’ve added the proper antifreeze mixture to your radiator. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a 60:40 mix to prevent freezing. In addition: be sure to change out your wiper fluid with a winter formulation so that you can safely clean sand salt and snow off of your windshield while on the move.

Change Your Oil - The colder it gets the more viscous liquids tend to get; this concept directly applies to your oil. In preparation for those low temperatures, it is advisable to switch to a lower viscosity oil to ensure that your engine continues to run smoothly in those bitter winter temperatures. Failing to do this; while not fatal to your vehicle can substantially increase the strain on it with every excursion which can easily lead to problems down the road.

Check Your Rubber/Plastic Bits - Cold weather affects pretty much every aspect of your vehicle; rubber and plastic, in particular, are vulnerable to becoming brittle in sub-zero temperatures. While unlikely to do something as dramatic as shatter, rubber components like fan belts and hoses tend to become more prone to damage when they lose their normal flexibility. If you see any cracks or tears you should get those parts replaced before you fall victim to a cold-weather calamity. 

Check Your Drive System - If you own a four-wheel-drive vehicle it might be a good idea to take it to a mechanic to have it checked out and make sure everything is working properly prior to the first flakes falling. Think of it like going in for a yearly check-up at the doctor, it's generally not a big deal, but it's also how you find out about minor issues before they become major ones.

Stock a Winter Survival Kit - A good winter breakdown kit consists of two parts: caring for yourself and caring for your car. (Infographic here)

Check Your Snow Tires - Generally speaking, your snow tires should have been stored somewhere climate-controlled during the offseason-regardless of how you store them, 

you should check your tires to ensure that there are no leaks. That the tread is at a good level and that the pressure is within the proper range for your vehicle before you put them on for the season. It also bears mentioning that your tires will lose roughly one PSI of their air pressure for every ten degrees of reduction in ambient air temperature so, re-checking your tire pressure after the first major temperature drop is definitely a good idea.

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Ready for winter