Winter is coming. Is your car ready for the harsh road conditions and weather that might come your way? Your town’s winters might be harsh, but you can prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws your way by properly winterizing your vehicle.
Luckily for people who have to battle it out in the snow and winter conditions, we have some simple tips for winterizing your car below.
Things that you can do on your own
Not everyone is a mechanic, but here are some DIY strategies to ensure your vehicle is winterized.
- Check your wiper blades. Many experts say windshield wiper blades need to be changed once or even twice per year. Luckily, blades can be changed without having to take your car to a mechanic. While they can go under the radar, wiper blades are essential for the winterizing process.
- Check your tire pressure. You might not have to replace your tires for a rugged winter, but you won’t know until you check the tire pressure. Your owner’s manual will have the recommended PSI.
- Replace or refill all fluids. If you need to replace the fluids entirely, then you might need to take your car to a mechanic. Whether the case, it’s important to check your oil, coolant, and wiper fluid. Your owner’s manual, or a mechanic, will be able to tell you what type of oil and coolant your car needs.
- Keep your gas tank half full at all times. A full tank of gas not only helps prevent frozen gas lines, but it’s something you can do without a mechanic. If you’re stranded, your heater might be the only thing keeping you warm, making a full tank of gas a necessity.
- Pack an emergency kit. A blanket, flashlight, sand (to get your tires unstuck if necessary), and an ice scraper are just some of the things you might pack in your emergency kit. Some people also pack food, which certainly isn’t a bad idea.
Things you should let a mechanic do
Sometimes you just have to take your vehicle to a car dealership. There’s no shame in having professionals work on your car. While it’s important to winterize your car based on where you live and where you will be traveling during the winter, here’s what the DMV suggests.
- Run a battery load test. The last thing you want is to see your battery die while you’re picking up your child from their class at the local dance center. Since it takes more power to start your car in the winter, it’s important that your battery has plenty of life and power. A mechanic will be able to tell you if you need to replace your battery.
- Get new tires. Checking your tire pressure might not be good enough, and the next step is getting new tires. If you live in an area where snow is prevalent during the winters, then you might want to consider swapping out all-seasonal tires for winter tires.
- Have your cooling system and brakes checked, as well as your belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables. All of these parts are essential to winterizing your vehicle. Once your mechanic checks them off, your car will be ready for whatever winter throws your way.
Winterizing your car is a year-round process, and you should already be scheduling routine maintenance to ensure your vehicle is always running properly. The last thing you want is for something to break down during bad weather. The tips above can help to winterize your vehicle and even give you assistance if you do get stranded.