1. Check Your Battery and Charging System
Winter months, especially in colder climates, are particularly harsh on batteries. If you often go on interstate trips, you should take additional care of this matter, unless you like the idea of being stranded with a dead battery in the middle of nowhere during a blizzard. That is why it is essential to check your battery and charging system for optimal performance and, if necessary, change your current battery for something more dependable.
2. Check Your Brakes
The braking system is the car’s most important safety system at the best of times, but in winter, when driving in general gets much more dangerous, having faulty brakes is tantamount to suicide. Brakes, just like all other crucial systems of your vehicles, should undergo regular maintenance. It is a good idea to time this to the beginning of the cold season because something that is simply an annoying problem in summer can spell your death sentence on an ice-slick.
3. Take Care of Insurance
Winter is always a more dangerous time for driving, which necessarily entails the issue of insurance. Of course, one should always hope for the best, but preparing for the worst will certainly be a good idea. So, make sure to get acquainted with different variants available to you, find out what comprehensive car insurance is going to give you, whether it is necessary in your state and whether it applies to your case at all, and make all the necessary arrangements beforehand.
4. Change Oil and Filter
If you own a car, it shouldn’t come as news to you that you are supposed to change the oil and filter at recommended intervals, but if you are sloppy enough to forgo it from time to time, you absolutely should do it before winter. The thing is, in winter dirty oil can be even more troublesome than in summer. If you live in a colder climate, you may find it useful to switch to winter weight oil for the duration of the cold months.
5. Check Tire Tread Depth and Tire Pressure
Or even consider switching to special winter tires if ice-slicks are staple guests in your area. And, no matter what tires you use, you should regularly check pressure in them – preferably on a weekly basis. Some tire producers also recommend increasing tire pressure compared to summer, and although there isn’t unanimity concerning the helpfulness of this practice, there are some logical considerations that support the idea.
6. Prepare a Winter Emergency Kit
A warm blanket or a sleeping bag, a shovel, an ice-scraper, reflective jacket, high-calorie snacks, bottled water, battery jump leads – any of these things may be the difference between life and death if you are ever unfortunate enough to get stranded far from human habitation in a snowstorm. Do yourself and your passengers a favor – don’t brush it off as an unlikely possibility and get prepared.
Winter is certainly not the friendliest season for car drivers, and unless you plan to take your car off the road for this time, you should take proper care of all the necessary preparations. After all, in addition to helping you save on repair costs, it can save your life as well.
I hope these tips will be helpful for you and your car this winter. Good luck!
Featured photo credit: Mr.MiTo outside/Jan L. | JLPhotography. via flickr.com