The leaves are still turning color and the weather is still warm, but winter is coming. There’s no stopping it, so you’d best make sure your car is prepared before the snow starts to fly. Here are 5 easy things you can do to make sure your car is ready for winter weather.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure.
This is an easy one and it’s an important one. If your tires aren’t properly inflated, then your traction is in jeopardy. Falling temperatures mean the air pressure in your tires has likely dropped, too. Vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring sensors will let you know when air pressure is low, but without these sensors, you’re in the dark. Double check your tire pressure the next time you fill-up at the gas station.
2. Check Your Tire Tread
It doesn’t matter how well inflated your tires are if the treads are worn down to nothing. The old penny trick still works. Take a penny and put it in the tire tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tread is still good. If not, then it’s time to get new tires. Check in a few different places along the width of your tire and around the tire in a circle. Uneven wear might make the tread fine in one spot, dangerous in another.
3. Replace Worn Wiper Blades.
It’s bad enough in rainy weather when your wipers are worn, but in snowy weather it’s even worse. Wipers generally last for about a year. If you can’t remember the last time you had your wipers changed, spend a few bucks and get new ones. While you’re at it, make sure that washer fluid reservoir is full, too. There’s nothing worse than running out of washer fluid and having to drive half-blind to the nearest gas station.
4. Get an Oil Change
A well lubricated engine is essential for proper engine maintenance. Always change your oil at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and be sure you’re not going into the winter months with old, dirty oil. Despite the myriad variety of engine oils out there, your best bet is to stick with what the manufacturer recommends. Choosing oil with a viscosity other than what is recommended could damage your engine.
5. Make a Winter Emergency Kit
This one is partly for you, and partly for the car. You don’t have to be prepared for the apocalypse, but you should be ready if your car does break down in cold weather. Jumper cables, a spare pair of gloves, blanket, ice scraper, flashlight, small shovel, and emergency flares can easily fit in a plastic container in the trunk.
And stay tuned. The first week in November, BestRide releases the Ultimate Winter Driving Guide, with driving tips from America’s top driving instructors, advice on selecting the right tires for your vehicle, and the best ways to keep your little ones safe in the car when the temperature drops.