Preparing Your Car for Winter

By Chad Ina - December 22, 2015

You need to prepare your car for cold weather and plan for getting stuck in storms or other challenges.

You’ve likely heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, when it comes to your car, an ounce of preparedness will save you a pound of misery.

Preparing your car in multiple ways will help ensure your safety, get you out of a bind, and save you a lot of money if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Here are the most important things you should do to prepare your car for the challenges of winter:

1. Check all lights

This isn’t just so you don’t get pulled over. It’s so that other people can see you and your intentions in foul weather.

People don’t know what you have in mind while you’re driving. If they don’t see a turn signal, then they don’t know you’re going to turn. This can be particularly hazardous in icy conditions where they can’t stop in time.

2. Keep it cool

At first, it may seem counterintuitive, but you need to check your coolant level in your radiator and in the reservoir.  Coolant for most vehicles will contain some antifreeze. It doesn’t just keep your car cool, it also keeps it from freezing solid like a block of ice.

3. Wipe your troubles away

Be sure to check your windshield wiper blades. When bad weather strikes, it’s the wrong time to find out that you have old wiper blades that aren’t keeping the snow, rain or freeway spray off your windshield so you can see.

And, if there’s one primary rule for proper driving, it ought to be, you can’t drive if you can’t see.

Be sure to replace your windshield washer fluid for winter fluid that won’t freeze. It won’t work well if it’s a block of ice.

4. Power up

At zero degrees Fahrenheit, the life of your battery drops by 50 percent.

You really need to check the life of your battery for winter so that you don’t find yourself stuck and in need of a jump start.

5. Under pressure

Check your tire pressure. Improperly inflated tires can cause severe handling problems. That is most certainly NOT what you want in foul weather conditions.

Depending on where you live, you should also consider winter tires. They are typically made with a harder material so that they grip better in cold weather. You can take them off in the spring and save them for next season to avoid waste.  Most people get several years’ worth of use out of a set.

6. Bug-out bag

Be sure to take a bug-out bag with you in your car wherever you go.

A bug-out bag is generally a backpack that has a pair of boots attached to the outside of it. You’ll be very happy to have boots if you find yourself broken down or off the road in wet, cold conditions.

Make sure you have extra socks, a first aid kit, water, food, a knife, fire starter equipment, thermal clothes, gloves and a hat.

You can pack more, but those are the essentials.

Being prepared is far better than being stuck. Even if you never get stuck, having these things allows you to help someone else in need.

About the Author - Chad Ina

One comment

  1. All said above is all true. But you can bet your bottom dollar most people leave it to the last minute. I have two vehicles one is a motorhome always make shower oil water act are ok.

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