Wherever you happen to live, there’s always a chance that you’ll experience extreme cold or a severe winter. The harsh winters can be cruel to your automobile. However, with the proper preparations, your car can be more equipped to handle the cold and snow. By taking measures to perform proper maintenance and having an emergency kit ready, you and your car will be more prepared for the winter.
Regardless of weather conditions, be sure you are always up-to-date on maintenance checks for your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Review these suggestions for your vehicle to ensure compliance. Staying current on these checks will help prevent any surprises when severe weather strikes.
Before entering the winter weather season, there are numerous factors to check in order to prepare your automobile. Consider the following checklist when you or a mechanic is preparing your car for winter:
- Antifreeze – Check the antifreeze level of your car and add more if necessary to prevent freezing.
- Heater and Defroster – Check to ensure that both the heater and defroster are functioning properly.
- Brakes – Check the thickness of the brake pads and also the amount of break dust that may be present. A thin break pad and a high level of dust may indicate the need to replace the pads. Additionally, be sure to check the level of brake fluid, and add more if necessary.
- Battery and Ignition System – Ensure battery terminals are clean and check that the system is working correctly.
- Exhaust System – Look for leaks or crimped pipes. These are common signs to repair or replace parts of the exhaust system.
- Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Repair any problems with the wipers and ensure you have enough wiper fluid. It also is important that you are using a winter mixture of wiper fluid.
- Lights and Emergency Flashers – Be sure all lights and flashers are in working condition.
- Tires – Replace tires without an adequate amount of tread. Any tire with less than 1/16 of an inch (1.6mm) of tread should be replaced. Also, check the air pressure of each tire.
- Oil – Check oil levels and change if necessary.
- Fuel – Keep your gas tank near full to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
- Thermostat – Ensure the thermostat is working properly.
In the event of an emergency, it is important that you are as prepared as possible. Winter is unpredictable, and you never know when you and your family may become stranded in your car battling the cold. Be sure your vehicle contains an emergency kit with necessary items for basic survival and things to assist in recovering your vehicle. Ready.gov suggests the following items be included in your emergency kit:
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Cell phone car charger
- Snack food
- Extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with a pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
Prepare Your Car For Winter
Dangerously cold temps can cause problems for autos. In order to help prevent emergencies for you and your family, be sure your vehicle is maintained and prepared for the winter. For more information, visit Ready.gov.
For the original blog from Guide One Insurance, click here.