How to Winterize Your Car
Shorter days and dropping temperatures are signs winter is just around the corner. Wintry weather conditions, like snow, ice, and slush, bring increased risk on the roads. Each winter, over 116,000 people are injured and more than 1,300 are killed in weather-related car accidents.
It’s not just weather that can put you at risk for an accident. During the winter months, colder temperatures mean a car has to work harder than it does in warmer weather, adding extra wear and tear. One of the best ways to stay safe and keep your car running smoothly during the snowy months ahead is to winterize your car.
Make sure your battery is up to par.
Cold weather can drain a battery of up to 50 percent of its power, so it’s crucial to replace a weak battery. Most auto supply shops will check your battery’s power for free. It’s easy to clean a corroded battery yourself; just make sure you wear proper eye protection and gloves before cleaning your battery.
Check your tires.
Replace your tires if the tread is worn, uneven, or beginning to wear. Under-inflated tires can decrease gas mileage, so keep tires properly inflated according to your tire manufacturer’s instructions. Each month during the winter, check your air pressure with a tire gauge and re-inflate as necessary.
If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you may want to consider purchasing snow tires. Snow tires are made specifically to improve braking and traction during hazardous winter conditions.
Make sure your heater and defroster are working properly.
A fully-functional heather makes driving in cold winter months more comfortable for you, and a working defroster is essential. The defroster melts the ice and snow on your rear windshield. Without the defroster, ice and snow can accumulate while you’re driving, potentially obstructing your vision.
Check windshield wipers and fluid.
Depending on usage, windshield wipers should be replaced every 6-12 months. Before winter, ensure your windshield wipers are functioning properly. They shouldn’t miss spots or leave streaks on your windshield, which can impair visibility. While you’re at it, top off your windshield wiper fluid. This will come in handy if you need to break up ice or clean off grime from dirty roads.
Keep an emergency kit in the trunk.
If you do get stranded, an emergency kit can keep you safe until help arrives. This kit should include, at minimum, the following items.
- Small shovel and kitty litter or sand for traction if you get stuck in snow
- Flashlight and extra batteries
Update your insurance coverage.
A little extra TLC can go a long way for your car in the winter. But accidents can happen to even the most careful and prepared drivers. That’s why an insurance policy that includes adequate coverage for both you and your car is a must.
If you’re not sure whether or not your coverage is enough to protect you, give us a call today. We’re happy to help you find the right plan to fit your budget and keep you covered in the coming months.