How to Get Your Car Ready for Colder Weather
Temperatures are starting to drop in many parts of the country. While it might not be cold out quite yet, the cooler mornings are the perfect time to start getting your car ready for frigid colder weather during the winter. What do you need to do to get your daily driver ready before Jack Frost shows up?
Check Your Fluids
If you live in cold climates, this is an essential step to get your car ready for winter. Check your fluids — and we’re not only talking about their levels. If you’ve been adding water to your radiator during the summer to keep things topped off, you’ll need to flush and refill your cooling system to ensure you’ve got the proper mix of water and antifreeze to keep your engine from freezing solid.
The same goes for windshield wiper fluid. Make sure you have a winter formula fluid in your reservoir, or you’ll end up freezing your wipers to the windshield. You may also want to get an oil change, swapping your thicker summer oil for a thinner winter variety that doesn’t take as much heat to start flowing.
Rotate or Replace Your Tires
Your tires are probably the central feature of your car when it comes to keeping you safe on icy winter roads. Now is the perfect time to inspect them and decide your next course of action. Start by checking your tread. If it’s below the recommended depth, you’ll need to replace your tires before they start to lose their grip on the road.
If your tires are relatively new, it’s still a smart idea to rotate them before the cold weather arrives in earnest. Take care of your tires, and while you might not always be able to avoid sliding on icy roads, they will help keep you from getting hurt in the meantime.
Clean Your Garage
One of the best ways to protect your car during the cold winter months is to park it in your garage. Unfortunately, if you’re like most of us, your garage has become a catch-all for the stuff that won’t fit in the rest of your house. Spend a weekend cleaning out your garage, so you have somewhere to park once the temperature starts to fall.
While you’re at it, take a close look at your garage door and check that everything is in good working order and ready for winter. That includes lubricating all the moving parts to keep the winter weather from drying it out and inspecting the weatherstripping to ensure you’re getting a good seal and keeping all that cold air out.
Put an Emergency Kit in Your Car
Before the snow starts to fall, create an emergency kit for your trunk or back seat. Include things like a phone charger, an extra set of warm clothes or blankets, road flares, bottled water and snacks. The goal is to help keep you safe and alive if you end up stranded in a snowbank somewhere and can’t get free. You could find yourself waiting for long periods, so having a way to stay warm and fed could be a lifesaver. Make sure you have a battery charger so you don’t get stranded if your battery gets too cold or dies.
Make sure you have a bag of kitty litter and a shovel in your kit as well. The kitty litter can help give you extra traction and help you get out of slippery situations. If you get trapped and can’t free yourself, use the shovel to keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow, so the carbon monoxide in the exhaust doesn’t back up into the cabin.
Stay Warm This Winter
Whether you’re planning a winter wonderland road trip or commuting to and from the office, take the time to get your car ready for the plunging temperatures and snowy roadways. It doesn’t take too much effort, but it can help keep you safe, so you’re around to enjoy all that gorgeous winter weather.