Ten Necessary Steps to Winterize Your Car

Winter is the season of joy and happiness. Unfortunately this is not true for your automobile. Heavier weather can lead to a number of safety issues and increased stress on your vehicle. Snow and ice make traction and vision a luxury. Potholes wreck tires and wheels while weakening suspensions. Salted roads cause unwanted rust. The simple task of driving can quickly turn into a nightmare. However, there are 10 steps to prepare your car for winter to help take a load off your back.

10 Necessary Steps:

1. Get your car an oil change and check-up. Changing your oil prior to the start of the harsh season is a smart move. In freezing cold areas of the world, it is a necessity. Your typical car these days runs with 10w30 oil in it which during the winter months can cause your motor not to crank over. A 5w30 or lower viscosity oil is recommended as it is thinner and will lubricate the engine better in cold temperatures. Always consult your local professional and owner’s manual prior to servicing.

2. Get your vision check-up. As inexpensive as they are, people tend to procrastinate on changing their windshield wipers. A good set of wipers should last about a year and can be purchased and installed by your local AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, Pep Boys, CarQuest or NAPA Auto Parts Store. Now is the time to change them. Also, make sure that windshield wiper fluid rather than just water is put into the reservoir. Water will freeze during the winter months and render the system useless. Lastly, check the defrosters. Make sure that they are working properly.

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3. Consider buying new shoes. Snow tires are a must in areas that receive high amounts of snow during the season. Consider getting your summer tires switched out and having a set riveted with snow spikes installed. Snow tires will increase traction in icy situations. Another route available is to install snow chains. However, with snow chains the vehicles speed must remain at the pace of a turtle.

4. Pump the tires up. Tire pressure is often overlooked in preferred and poor driving conditions alike. There is a sticker in the door jamb that can be referred to for proper tire inflation. Also the owner’s manual and or local car dealership should be able to provide you with this information. Last thing you want to do is add to the already severely compromised grip on the road during rainy, snowy or icy conditions.

5. Make sure the battery has juice. Batteries work well at room temperature but may struggle when it’s freezing out. Find an auto repair shop that will perform a free check for you. This is the worst time of the year to be stranded.

6. Have the belts and hoses checked out. These rubber parts don’t hold up well under the constant hot and cold temperatures they experience. Have your local technician check for signs of cracking, fraying and splitting on the belts. For the hoses, make sure they aren’t dried out and brittle or leaking any coolant.

7. Your antifreeze should be 50/50. Half water, half antifreeze is what you need in your radiator and reservoir. Too much water will cause the fluid to freeze and be ineffective at cooling your engine. Also, this Auto Portal Hyderabad can cause severe engine damage and expensive repairs. Most auto service shops are equipped to test the fluid and will do so for free at your check-up. If at all questionable, consider having the fluid swapped.

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8. Is your vehicle equipped with 4wd? Before venturing out on unknown roads, verify that your four-wheel drive system is working properly. In the situation that you happen to get stuck in the snow, 4wd is a great help to bail you out. Ensure that the system switches on when asked and have all the gearbox fluids checked at your local mechanic shop.

9. Just in case. Have an emergency kit stored in the back of your vehicle. Make sure to include the following items so that you’re prepared no matter what dangers you face:

warm blanket

extra boots and gloves

an extra set of warm clothes

extra water and food, including hard candies

an ice scraper

a small shovel

a flashlight

windshield washer fluid

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flares

jumper cables

a tool kit

tire chains

a tire gauge

a spare tire with air in it

tire-changing equipment

a first-aid kit

paper towels

a bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.

10. Be prepared for the worst. Have a plan of action if worst comes to worst. The best way to avoid tragedy is to not be on the roads. Unfortunately, our lives require us to travel from place to place. Talk to your local Fire Station about proper procedures in the event that you get stranded on the road. Stay close to your car unless you’re absolutely certain about where you’re headed. Light at least two flares and set them by each side, behind your car, to make you more visible to those passing by. In severe snow storms be sure to crack your windows slightly to avoid being sealed in. Cover up with the extra clothes and blanket to keep warm. If you have plenty of fuel, start your car for 10-15 minutes every hour to cycle the heater. Lastly, stay calm, collected and aware at all times so that you can make sound decisions.

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