The winter season is fast approaching, meaning it’s time to get your car prepped for the cold months ahead. We’ve compiled a list of things you need to do to make sure your car is ready to perform, and to make sure you are ready for any situations that could happen to you out on the icy roads.
Check Your Tires
When the roads have ice and snow on them it makes your tire’s traction worse. You should seriously consider purchasing winter tires, as they’ll significantly cut down the risk of you losing control on the road. You should also make sure your tires are properly inflated. The colder the air starts to get the more it can affect your tire pressure. You can expect each tire to lose 1 pound of pressure per square inch when the temperature drops 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check Up On Your Battery
When the temperature drops your engine needs more power from the battery to start up properly, so it’s important to check and see if your battery is charged up. The most simple way to check is by turning on your headlights before you start your engine. Then turn your engine on. If the lights get brighter your battery may be dying. You can test the actual voltage at home with a voltmeter or have your mechanic do a test for you. Some batteries also have a built-in hydrometer that measures the voltage. You’ll also want to check the cables for cracks. Finally, ask your mechanic to check the battery fluid.
Get A Tune Up
Check your owner’s manual, but for many cars a tune up is recommended every 30,000 miles or so, and if you’re getting a tune up right before the winter there’s a couple extra things you should get checked out as well. Get your oil changed, and make sure you get the right type of oil. Oil thickens in the winter, so it’s important to follow your car’s manual to protect your engine. Have a mechanic also check your belts and hoses, ignition, brakes, wiring, fan belts, spark plugs, air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve.
Replace Your Wipers
It’s wise to replace your windshield wipers every year or so, and it’s definitely wise to make sure they’re working before the winter comes in full force. Here’s another important step to take before you find yourself blind in a winter storm: fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you don’t have to find out at the worst possible time.
Check Your Antifreeze Ratio
Normally you want the ratio of coolant to water to be 50/50, but when it gets colder you want the ratio to be 60/40 coolant to water. This will prevent the mixture from freezing in extremely cold weather. You can purchase an inexpensive antifreeze tester from any auto parts store.
Hopefully these tips and tricks help your car perform to the best of its ability when the winter weather starts setting in. Stay safe out there!