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10 Important Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for Winter
Reference and Help Author: David Clarke
10 Important Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

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:

1.       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).

2.       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.

3.       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.

4.       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.

5.       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.

6.       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 car's system.

Keep in mind that revving the engine excessively right after starting doesn't really make it warm up faster.

7.       Keep the gas tank as full as possible

Having a full gas tank helps prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.

8.       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 away.

9.       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.

10.   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:

i.                     Blanket

ii.                   Extra set of warm clothes (including boots and gloves)

iii.                  Water and food (including hard candy)

iv.                 Ice scraper

v.                   Small shovel

vi.                 Flashlight (make sure that the batteries are full and it's working well)

vii.                Windshield washer fluid

viii.              Flares

ix.                 Jumper cables

x.                   Tools

xi.                 Tire chains

xii.                Tire gauge

xiii.              Spare tire (with proper tire pressure)

xiv.              Tire changing tools

xv.               First-aid kit

xvi.              Paper towels

xvii.            A bag of sand or salt or non-clumping kitty litter (for traction if you get stuck)


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