Did you know that in 2009, there were 5.5 million car
accidents in the United States? Around 31 000 of these accidents were fatal and
more than 2 million people were injured. Most of these car crashes happened in
December, and it's no secret why. Cold areas that experience extremely cold
weather have to deal with snow and ice during this time of the year which
creates a very dangerous driving environment. That's why it's very important to
make the necessary preparations for winter driving to make sure that you're as
safe as possible while driving your car. Here are essential steps to
winterizing your vehicle that we put together with the help of car repair Rock Hill SC:
Get the right kind of oil change when it's
needed (and not a day after)
30 000 miles is the usual milestone
for drivers to get their car fully serviced which includes an oil change. If
you're getting close to the 30 000 mile mark, don't wait around; have your oil
changed right away.
When getting an oil change, make
sure you have the right kind of oil for winter. Engine oil thickens in low
temperatures which makes it harder for engines to start. You can prevent this
problem by getting a multi-viscosity oil (it maintains good oil flow at cold
temperatures but can still be used in warmer weather).
Make sure you have a clean windshield
Your windshield is supposed to
protect you from the wind and from other outdoor elements, not prevent you from
seeing. If your windshield wipers are starting to leave streaks of water or if
the rubber is beginning to crack, it's time to replace them. Good windshield
wipers usually last for about a year.
During winter, it's better to use
windshield washer. Water will just freeze and compound the problem.
Make sure your battery is in tip-top shape
Check your battery for corrosion on
its posts and connections. You also need to make sure that it has enough water.
For conventional batteries, you can remove the plastic caps on top of the
battery to check for the fluid level. If it's low, you can add distilled water.
If your battery is more than three years old, have certified repair shops check
to see if it can still hold a charge.
Check your cooling system
The extreme cold of winter is one
of the top causes of cracks on the rubber parts of your car. You will need to
check your belts and hoses for wear and tear to make sure that they don't
suddenly break while you're driving.
Check your tires
Having properly inflated tires are
essential for getting the best possible traction while driving so you'll need
to check your tire pressure. Don't forget to check your spare tire too.
If you live in an area where you
regularly get snow, then it might be wise to invest in snow tires.
Let the engine warm up fully
Cold weather and condensation build
up can cause premature rusting in your exhaust system components. You can help
prevent this by getting your engine up to its normal operating temperature
before driving your car to speed up the evaporation of the moisture in your
Keep in mind that revving the
engine excessively right after starting doesn't really make it warm up faster.
Keep the gas tank as full as possible
Having a full gas tank helps
prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.
Get a brake check
If you haven't had your brakes
checked in the last 6 months, it might be prudent to have them checked right
Check your 4-wheel drive (if you have it)
If you have 4-wheel drive for your
car, it's best to have a certified repair shop look it over before using it for
winter driving. Most drivers don't use their 4WD systems for months which can
cause problems with engaging and disengaging the system.
Keep an emergency kit in your car
An emergency car kit is essential
for winter driving because you never really know when you'll be in a car
accident or if you will be stranded in this terrible weather. Here are some of
the items that every car should have during the winter season:
Extra set of warm clothes (including boots and
Water and food (including hard candy)
Flashlight (make sure that the batteries are
full and it's working well)
Windshield washer fluid
Spare tire (with proper tire pressure)
Tire changing tools
A bag of sand or salt or non-clumping kitty
litter (for traction if you get stuck)
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