Winter can be especially hard on your vehicle. That’s why you need to make sure that you do a vehicle check-up before the temperatures drop. While some things on the vehicle check-up to do list are minor, you may have to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for more involved tasks that may require special equipment or tools. Here is what you’ll need to do to winterize your vehicle:
Inspect and/or Replace Your Tires
Wet and/or icy roads can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are driving on worn tires or tires that do not have the correct air pressure. Your owner’s manual will provide the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) needed for your tires. You can check the pressure yourself with a tire gauge, or go to a tire service center. If snowfall is heavy in your area, you may want to consider purchasing snow tires for better traction during the winter months.
Check All Fluids
One of the best ways to winterize your car is to make sure that all of your car’s fluids are at the correct levels. This is another vehicle check-up task that you can do yourself. The information is available in the owner’s manual, or you can watch “how-to” videos online. The fluids you will need to check are:
- Wiper fluid: Always use freeze-resistant wiper fluid to clean your windshield.
- Antifreeze: You’ll need to have the right amount of antifreeze in your car’s radiator to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures drop. Use a tester to make sure that the fluid is filled to the maximum.
- Oil: Check the owner’s manual or with the auto parts store to find the best motor oil to use for winterizing your car. You might want to consider switching to a thinner oil (to avoid freezing) if you live in areas where temperatures drop below zero.
Check Your Battery
Cold weather reduces the battery capacity. Have the battery, cables, and terminals inspected. Check for cracks or breaks on the cables. Make sure that the terminals are tight and have no loose connections. Be sure to check the battery fluid and refill with distilled water if necessary.
You’ll need to check how much charge is in your battery. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that lets you know the remaining voltage. Newer cars have built-in diagnostic systems that keep you informed about your car’s maintenance needs. If you have neither of these, you can always consult a mechanic.
Be Ready for Emergencies
Regardless of the temperatures, it’s always a good idea to keep a safety kit in your car. Safety kits include:
- First aid kit
- Blanket, gloves, and hat
- Cat litter or sand
- Jug of water
- Lug wrench
- Road flares
- Ice scraper/brush
- Small shovel
- Snacks (be sure to check expiration dates)
Don’t get caught on the road in the cold. Make a plan to winterize your vehicle. If you are seeking new car insurance, contact our team at MAIF Insurance Online.