Winter driving is demanding, but a little preparation can make it a lot easier. Here are a few tips to stay safe and sound during some of the most treacherous driving times of the year.
Switch to Winter Wipers
It’s already hard to see with winter’s sleet and snow in the air. Wiper blades that constantly freeze up make visibility even worse. Winter wipers come with a rubber shrink-wrapped coating that keeps snow, slush and ice from collecting. They are heavier than regular blades, so remember to change them back or else your wiper motor could burn out.
Keep a Full Reservoir of Wiper Fluid
Wiper fluid is used heavily during wintertime to keep your windshield clean from snow and ice. Keep a spare bottle of it in the trunk so you can always refill the reservoir. Being stranded or having a wreck in freezing weather, all because you can’t see, is not a good scenario.
Consider Winter Tires
When temperatures stay around freezing or below, the rubber on non-winter tires hardens, making it harder to grip the pavement. Tires engineered to resist hardening in frigid temperatures provide better traction on wet or icy streets. Get snow tires installed before extreme winter weather arrives to avoid slipping and sliding off the road.
Check Tire Pressure Regularly
Whether you change to winter tires or not, checking tire pressure is essential, especially during cold weather. Every ten degree change in temperature typically means a gain or loss of one PSI. Purchase an easy-to-use gauge from an auto parts store, read the owner’s manual to find the recommended tire pressure for your model, and get used to checking it every time you fuel up. Adding air as needed can help keep you from losing control on slick winter roads.
Pack a Safety Kit
If you’re stuck somewhere on the side of the road, a winter safety kit in the backseat or trunk of your car could be the difference between life or death. Here are some possible items to have on hand: an ice scraper, shovel, sandbags, extra antifreeze, flares, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, tool kit, jumper cables, extra clothing, matches, snacks and water.
Don’t Let Fuel Get Too Low
Visit the gas station more often in winter. Having at least a half tank of gas at all times keeps fuel lines from freezing up. Plus, if you’re ever stranded, staying inside your car to keep warm until help arrives works better if you can keep your car running.
Check Your Battery
Cold temperatures reduce your battery’s cranking power. So, after a hot summer, which can be harsh on a battery, you’ll want to have it checked before it’s too cold. A car without a good battery during frigid winter months can be deadly.
Change Your Oil to Winter-Grade
The thicker the oil in your car, the more work your engine has to do. And as it gets colder, your engine’s oil thickens up. If your engine has to work too hard because the oil is too thick, major problems could occur, including being stranded in the heart of a winter storm. Making sure your car has winter-grade oil helps your car run smooth and last longer.
Preparing for winter driving is a smart way to keep your car healthy and you and your loved ones safe. For expert advice and help with these and other winter driving concerns, click here or give us a call at 918-641-4940 today.