Winter weather is all about being prepared. You shouldn’t ignore your car or truck when thinking about winter preparedness. A little time and money ahead of time will get you where you need to go when winter hits. Let’s look at eight parts of your car that you should inspect or determine are ready for cold weather.
Lights — It gets dark earlier, and stays that way longer, in winter months. Car lighting is critical both for you to see where you are going, and for other drivers to see you. Do a thorough inspection of all your car’s lighting. Replace broken or burned out bulbs. And, always remember to brush off snow from all outside lights before you start driving. You don’t want to be on your way in the dark and suddenly realize your headlight is out. Check it now.
Battery and electrical system — Is your battery getting a bit old? Did it seem a bit sluggish when starting the car in warmer weather? These are good reasons to consider replacing your battery now. Batteries have to work a lot harder when the weather turns cold, and older batteries may not have enough residual power to start a cold car engine.
Antifreeze coolant — This is the lifeblood of your engine, keeping it cool in the summer and protecting if from freezing in the winter. Antifreeze coolant can last for many years but should be tested periodically to determine if it needs replacement.
Other Fluids — Gasoline and washer fluid are also present in your car, and are often forgotten. If a storm is imminent, fill up your gas tank ahead of time. A full tank is less likely to create water that can muck up your fuel system. More important is that a full tank gives you more gas to keep warm if you get stranded. Washer fluid needs to stay liquid to work properly, so buy washer fluid with a low freezing point. It’s shown on the label.
Tires — You can benefit from winter-rated tires in very cold weather because they are designed to remain flexible in cold weather. Flexible means more tread touching the road surface, so you will have more traction.
Tire Pressures — Tire pressures drop as the outside temperature falls, so check your tire pressures regularly. Also, under inflated tires will handle poorly and can cause accidents, so keep those pressures at recommended levels. Don’t over inflate them, thinking more pressure is better. Over-inflation reduces traction and can lead to handling issues.
Heat and Defrost — Check that your car’s heater works properly before you need it. Also, make sure the windshield and rear window defrosters are working correctly. A bad time to find out they don’t is in the middle of a storm.
Preparing Yourself for Bad Weather — Have you ever considered putting a survival bag in the trunk of your car during the winter? Perhaps you should. A couple of blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a weather radio you can crank for power and to charge your phone, even some dry food if you don’t have a mice problem in your area. All of these items can be life-saving if you are trapped in your car. An empty plastic bottle can be used to collect snow for drinking water. You don’t need a stove or burner, assuming you filled that gas tank up before you left, because the warm air inside the car will melt the snow.
Rome Pre-Owned Auto Sales wants you to be prepared for winter weather