As the daytime is shortened and the hemisphere is tilted more away from the sun, temperatures begin to drop ushering in another winter season. With slick road conditions and snowstorms on the horizon, autumn is a perfect time to help prepare for the upcoming wintry conditions. In this article, we’ll cover some quick tips to help you safely navigate through the winter and prepare for the colder temperatures.
1) Pack an Emergency Kit
The first and most important step is to be prepared to stay safe in every condition! If you plan on taking trips away from your normal commute, it is especially handy to have a number of safety amenities to stay warm and safe in case of a breakdown or accident. Grab a plastic container and stow in a First Aid Kit, flashlight (with extra batteries), extra hat and pair of gloves, portable cellphone charger, non-perishable food that can be eaten cold, and/or a small tool kit. Make sure to also carry extra blankets, shovel, and ice scraper in the car to help battle the elements. Our friends at Fred Martin Superstore (Barberton, OH) remind us that completely equipped emergency kits are available on Amazon and at other stores.
2) Check and Update Car Fluids
Colder temperatures bring your car and it’s systems to extreme lows, that undergo quick heating after driving for a short period of time. This drastic change in temperature and extreme-low starting temperature can cause systems to have trouble or break down. Make sure that your antifreeze and coolant levels are up to date and ready for the cold temperatures to help prevent your engine from freezing. Having clean and updated oil within your engine is really good practice, and especially helpful for engine performance in the winter. Check to be sure your windshield washer fluid is water-based only as this can cause it to freeze quickly after deployment.
3) Are Your Tires Ready?
As the years have passed on, tire technology has become better and better at keeping you in control while driving through tough weather and road conditions. Shallow snow or wintery mix can be forded with smart driving and healthy tires; make sure to give yourself the best edge with keeping your tire pressure in check. As temperatures drop, so does the pressure of air in your tire. Actively staying on top with checking the tire pressure yourself and filling it at a nearby gas station is a quick fix to help maximize traction. The tire treads are lines and slots carved into a tire’s rubber, to help ensure the displacement of water, snow and other debris to allow for direct contact between the tire and pavement. Measure the tread depth of your tires with an Abe Lincoln penny by sticking the head directly into the tread; if you can see the whole head and hair, it’s time to talk to your trusty mechanic about a new set of tires.
4) Perform Regular Quick Inspections
Tires and fluids are only a few parts of the car that help safely navigate the coming colder weather; perform your own quick check-over of the car’s systems a few times a month to stay on top of your car’s health. Check to make sure all lights and turn indicators are working as intended; for additional visibility, clean off the windshield and windows both on the outside and inside of the vehicle to help with that low winter sun during the morning and late afternoon commutes. If your windshield wipers are leaving spots/streaks of water, consider swapping them out for new wipers which is a quick easy fix you can perform yourself! Go over each of your interior systems, especially the heater and fan system to make sure they function properly before temperatures dip low.
Cold conditions can bring to light a slew of adverse side effects of cars aging and/or being pushed to perform and tough conditions. With a bit of prep work and pre-planning, you can help your car be ready for the cold wintry conditions that are coming up! Be sure to get in touch with your friendly local mechanic or automotive service center to help your care be in top condition, and remember to drive safely while on the road!