February 8, 2011

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter
Winter weather can pose all kinds of problems when it comes to your automobile. Driving conditions can be hazardous and can change suddenly. To keep yourself safe during the winter season, there are a few things you should do to prepare your car for the weather.
Tires
You may want to think about purchasing snow tires depending on the area in which you live. If your car has alloy wheels, consider getting tires that have steel rims. Alloy wheels can be easily damaged in winter. Also, it’s important to check tire pressure frequently. You can do this yourself with a tire gauge. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your car or truck in your owner’s manual. At minimum, you need to check the tread on your tires to make sure that it is deep enough to handle snow and ice.
Lights
Make sure your lights are clean and in good working order before the winter weather arrives. If a light breaks or burns out, have it fixed or changed immediately.
Battery
You can test your battery yourself by purchasing a hydrometer from your local auto parts store. If your battery is between 3 and 4 years old, you may want to consider buying a new one. The winter season is harder on your battery. If you don’t feel comfortable checking it yourself, take your car to a professional and have them test it for you.
Check Fluids
Make sure to check your antifreeze before the winter season. If you would like to do it yourself, you can buy an antifreeze tester from an auto parts store. Your coolant system should contain 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. This is something that can be checked at a service center if you would prefer to have a professional check it for you. You should also have a fresh oil change before the onset of winter. Make sure all fluids have been checked, filled, or replaced as necessary.
Wipers
You should replace windshield wiper blades so that you will have better visibility in case of a winter storm. Windshield wipers are only good for about one year. Always make sure to carry extra windshield washer fluid in your trunk in case you need it.
Be Prepared
You never know when you are going to be caught up in bad weather. Always have the following items in your trunk in case of an emergency: an ice scraper/brush, spare tire, a jack, jumper cables, a shovel, and salt. You may want to prepare a special “emergency kit” in case you are ever stranded. It should contain a flashlight, batteries, matches, food (granola bars or trail mix), blankets, and extra winter clothing.
Winter driving can pose all kinds of unpredictable problems. Stay ahead of the game by having your car winterized before the bad weather hits.
Guest post from Bailey Harris who writes about car insurance rates and related topics for the Car Insurance Blog.

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