If you have never lived in a cold climate, you probably haven’t had to deal with driving and handling a car in snowy conditions. There is a lot of preparation that needs to be done before you can drive safely through the winter. Just as you change your wardrobe for winter, your car needs a winter wardrobe. Use the following steps to help ensure your car operates safely during the winter.
Preparing your car for winter breaks down into two categories: regular car maintenance and specialty items to deal with inclement weather. Regular car maintenance includes things that you do to your car year round. You need to make sure that these maintenance tasks get done before the weather starts to change so you can make sure that your car is running at its optimum level.
Before the winter starts, you should get your car’s routine maintenance up to date. Getting your oil changed and your brakes fixed are essential in preparing your car for winter. Roads can be dangerous after the first snowfall. If you opt to go for snow tires, you should get them installed several weeks before winter hits. Snow tires aren’t always necessary but they are a good idea if you are going to be driving in a place that experiences a lot of snowfall. Even if you don’t need snow tires, check to make sure that your tires are in good enough shape to handle the wintry conditions.
Test out your windshield wipers before the first rain or snowfall. Be sure the wipers don’t just smear water across your windshield. Windshield wipers that work improperly can severely reduce your visibility and put you at risk for getting into an accident. Replace your windshield wipers and take a look at the special winter windshield wipers that are available on the market today. If you live in an area where you frequently experience snowfall, this may be a good option. While you’re at it, make sure that your windshield wiper fluid container is filled, and put an extra gallon on fluid in your trunk.
The next part of car preparation is gathering together the supplies that you’ll need to get your car running when the weather is bad. These supplies should be kept in two spaces: your garage and in your car. For your garage, you’ll need a shovel, a small broom and some de-icing spray. These are necessary in order to free your car from any heavy snowfall that occurred the night before. You may also find an ice scraper handy.
For your car, you should carry an additional ice scraper and some de-icing spray to use if you have to park outside during work hours. These items should be kept with a winter emergency kit that is stored in the trunk of your car. In addition to the scraper and spray, you should store a blanket, some dry snacks, first-aid supplies and bottled water. If you’re ever stuck in a snowstorm, these items will help you survive.
While driving during the wintertime certainly isn’t something that you should worry about, you should take the steps necessary to prepare your car for the coming months. Get your car tuned up and stocked with emergency supplies and you’ll be ready to take what ever the winter weather throws your way.