Winter makes it impossible to survive without preparation. Even walking to the convenience store can be dangerous if you don’t have winter gear on. You may enjoy a little eggnog by the fire during the coldest season of the year, but outside, you need the help of at least a good jacket, gloves, and boots.
Your car needs the same preparation when the first snow falls. It doesn’t like freezing weather any more than you do, but it has to be extra reliable during the cold. After all, your life may actually depend on it when you’re on the road. Here are some tips to prepare your vehicle for cold weather:
Don’t underestimate the importance of tire preparation
All-season tires are great for summer and winter driving, but if you live in or are planning a trip to a place that gets too cold and snowy, you may want to replace your rubbers with winter tires for better grip and performance on slushy roads. Make sure your tires have your car’s recommended pressure at all times. This is especially important during winter, when grip and handling may be the difference between a good ride and a crash.
Don’t let your fuel lines freeze
You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road when it’s snowing like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. Fuel lines can freeze and leave you stranded, so don’t be complacent. Shadetree Automotive recommends asking your mechanic if it’s safe to add a can of fuel-line antifreeze in your gas tank.
Replace or top up fluids
Don’t fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir with water. Use a winter blend fluid that doesn’t freeze so easily. Remember to top up before going for a long drive in winter. Your antifreeze (coolant) may be a few years old, so it might be time to flush it. Get the kind that’s premixed with water, so you don’t have to worry about mixing it.
If your motor oil is due for a change, ask your mechanic about using oil with lower viscosity. Higher viscosity means thicker (more viscous) oil is less fluid when temperatures are freezing. Fully synthetic oil is better at maintaining optimal temperature for your engine, as well keeping it clean and lubricated.
Keep winter items in your trunk
In case your car does break down when you’re out on a cold night, you need some items to survive. Buy an emergency kit. There are those that come with jumper cables, a first-aid kit, a portable air compressor, flares, and other important items.
Bring a pack of extra-large Mylar blankets and a thick wool blanket in case you have to stay in your car during a blizzard or need something to kneel on when replacing a flat.
Extremely cold weather isn’t just challenging for humans since it’s rough on your car, too. Follow this advice and stay safe while on the road in freezing temperature.