The winter season is quickly approaching and with it are potentially hazardous road conditions to be aware of. If your vehicle is not prepared for unpredictable weather and other driving hazards the season presents, passenger safety and the condition of the vehicle may be compromised. Taking precautions against the worst aspects of winter will increase the likelihood that you will stay safe on the roads and prolong your vehicle's lifespan and quality of operation.
1. Check the tires and alignment
Ensure that the tire pressure of each tire is in line with what your owner's manual recommends for your vehicle and get your alignment checked. Also, making certain that the tread on your tires isn't balding can be particularly crucial for safe winter driving. Tires with sufficient tread will offer more traction on slippery, snow-covered roads. One way to help prevent the depletion of tire tread is to rotate your tires regularly. You may also consider installing tires that are specifically used for winter as they may make a significant difference in colder, harsher climates.
2. Flush and refill coolant system
Replacing coolant is of paramount importance to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape for winter. Coolant systems that have insufficient levels of antifreeze during winter can cause your vehicle to overheat when the coolant becomes frozen. Flushing the system will help detect leaks and replenish the system with fresh coolant.
3. Get your brakes looked at
Getting your brakes looked at and replacing any battered brake pads is a necessary safety precaution for effective winter driving. Stopping time is already diminished substantially on icy roads, especially when descending an incline. Recently repaired brakes increase your chances of being able to stop quickly and prevent a costly accident. Keeping up regular maintenance of your brake pads can also help avoid costly repairs later that happen when your brakes are neglected for long periods of time.
4. Inspect the suspension
Suspension issues will greatly affect your driving ability in the wintertime. Bad suspension can cause your car to pull to one side, undue swerving during a lane change, bottoming out, and other things that are considerably dangerous to your vehicle and its passengers. Ice melting products and salt that is used in times of large snow volumes will corrode your coil springs quicker, so if they are already damaged before winter strikes these conditions can spell trouble. Get any work on your suspension done before driving on slick roads to keep you, your loved ones, and your vehicle asset safe.
5. Replace wipers
Windshield wipers will get worn out quickly in winter when precipitation levels are high and they are utilized more frequently. Replacing them if they are no longer effective will ensure that you have functioning wipers to will help unobscure your view while driving. Having a clear line of sight is an important factor for safe driving.
6. Regularly maintain fluid levels
Transmission fluid and oil with a lower viscosity are recommended for winter weather when temperatures drop. Weightier fluids have difficulty creating satisfactory lubrication in colder conditions. Make it a habit to regularly maintain the fluid levels of your vehicle in winter to keep it running to its full ability, especially for older models.
7. Store an emergency kit
Keeping a small emergency kit in your car is a wonderful way to prepare for unexpected driving situations. First aid kits, flares, flashlights, extra batteries, water bottles, blankets, jumper cables, and a car jack are perfect things to have on-hand to help yourself out when unfavorable situations occur.
For more tips on how you can winterize your car in preparation for the upcoming 2016-2017 season, contact us today.