Is your vehicle prepared for the upcoming cold weather? It is essential that your vehicle is up to the challenge of driving in the winter, just as it is essential that you are equipped for winter driving conditions. Your vehicle could suffer damage from the cold weather, but if you are adequately equipped, you should be able to steer clear of the majority of difficulties. The following is a list of winter driving guidelines that you should be doing to ensure that you do not get into any unpleasant situations while driving in harsh weather conditions.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure and Consider Snow Tires
In the winter, driving on roads that are wet or icy can result in accidents, so it is extremely essential to ensure that your tires are prepared to deal with a variety of different kinds of weather. If the tires on your vehicle are regular ones, you need to check the air pressure in each one. The air capacity in your tires will decrease when it is cold outside. Your tire’s air pressure will decrease approximately one pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature drops.
It is important to be aware that during the winter months, some drivers prefer to either ignore the pressure in their tires or let it fall naturally in the belief that this will make the vehicle easier to control. However, while the first reason is certainly deserving of consideration, the repercussions are unrivaled in their severity. On paved roadways and in environments with soft surfaces (like sand, dirt, or heavy snow), the second consideration is typically applicable. Tire pressure is still considered to be the “standard” parameter in most situations. It is not only helpful in extending the life of tires, but it also helps save gasoline.
After the tire has been brought back to the condition that was specified by the manufacturer (refer to the specifications that are typically printed or glued to the wing door of the vehicle), you need to check to see that all four valves, in addition to the side tires, have a decent cover. The absence of a cover will result in condensation forming inside the tire, which will lead to a release of gas in addition to a number of other unfavorable outcomes.
Consider purchasing snow tires if you reside in an area that gets extremely cold winter temperatures. The distinction between winter tires and summer tires can lead to additional issues for your vehicle if you do not replace all four of your regular tires with snow tires. Snow tires are constructed using a softer material than that used in all-season tires, which enables them to maintain their flexibility even when the temperature is extremely low. Snow tires have tread patterns that are specifically intended to provide traction in icy and snowy conditions.
2. Check Your Battery
It is recommended that you replace your vehicle’s battery every three to five years, depending on how long it has lasted. You are able to replace it in the fall, which is the time of year when batteries are generally on sale. Your engine will have to work harder in cold weather, which will place additional strain on the battery because of the engine’s increased activity level. When exposed to temperatures that low, the battery power of a vehicle can lose up to half of its capacity. When exposed to extremely low temperatures, the chemical reactions inside a vehicle battery that are necessary to produce power become less efficient. A completely charged lead-acid battery has only half of its rated amp-hour capacity when the temperature is 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check the battery cables and clamps, and remove any corrosion caused by the battery acid using baking powder, water, and a toothbrush. You should also make sure that the battery is fully charged. If the level of the battery is low, remove the caps from the top, and then carefully pour distilled water into the holes, taking care not to fill the cavity all the way to the top of the cap.
3. Check Your Oil and Adjust the Viscosity
Your vehicle’s engine cannot function without the correct amount of lubrication provided by oil. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the oil decreases as the temperature drops. The viscosity of the oil, also known as its thickness, has a significant impact on the functionality of your engine. If the oil is too thick, it will not flow quickly enough between the moving components, which will cause your engine to overheat. Because the oil will become more viscous when the temperature outside is lower, you can get around this issue by using an oil that has a reduced viscosity when you fill up your engine. Check the owner’s handbook for your vehicle to learn the correct viscosity (that’s the thickness or thinness of a liquid) of oil you need to use during the winter. The manual may also recommend a type of oil that is thinner depending on the time of year.
When it comes to how frequently someone should get an oil change for their vehicle, there are a few different schools of thought. However, the majority of automotive technicians agree that you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or once every three months.
4. Check Your Anti-freeze Mixture
Antifreeze not only prevents your engine from corroding, but it also shields it from damage caused by chilling during the winter and overheating during the summer. Your radiator should have a combination of anti-freeze and water that is approximately 50 percent anti-freeze and 50 percent water. This ratio is the standard and prevents fluids from freezing at temperatures as low as -34 degrees Fahrenheit.
An antifreeze tester is a relatively inexpensive tool that can be purchased at any local auto parts store. With this tool, it is simple and quick to determine the current state of the combination. Pay close attention to the level of refrigerant in the tank. Should you fail to do so, the refrigerant may freeze, and the engine may reach dangerously high temperatures. There is a good chance that one or more of the gaskets will burst, and the expense of replacing them due to the effort involved can be considerable. In the event that the ratio is incorrect, the cooling system in your vehicle needs to be emptied, then either refilled or flushed. If you plan to handle the disposal of your old antifreeze on your own, ensure that you have the necessary supplies. It is not possible to simply flush it down the toilet.
5. Keep Your Gas Tank As Full As Possible
Will you let your gas tank run dry until the very last possible minute, at which point you will fill it up with gas costing approximately fifteen dollars’ worth? Fill up often! In the winter, it is more essential to maintain a full tank of gas than it is in the summer. Condensation can develop on the walls of a gas tank in the red due to cold temperatures and constant temperature shifts. If this continues, the water will eventually drip down into the gas and contaminate it. Since water is heavier than gas, it will eventually sink to the bottom, which is bad news because if water gets into the fuel lines, they will freeze up, preventing any flow of gas to the engine and essentially halting your travel plans. Water will eventually sink to the bottom because water is heavier than gas. Having a full tank of gas not only stops moisture from freezing in the gas lines, which can be an expensive problem, but it also helps you keep more money in your pocket. This is true despite the fact that gas prices are currently relatively high.
6. Make Sure Your Heaters and Defrosters Are Working
Although it may seem obvious, it is important to inspect them before venturing out in severe weather, especially if it is storming or extremely cold. When there is fog outside during the winter, moisture from inside the vehicle condenses on the windows, making it extremely difficult to see out. Being unable to see what’s happening behind you while driving can produce hazardous conditions. A fogged-up window can be caused by water vapor entering the room through an open window or even from your own breath. This issue can be remedied by using a defroster, which works by passing warm, dry air over the window.
Check for air leaks around the doors and windows that could be allowing additional moisture to enter the vehicle if you are certain that your defroster device is operating correctly but you are still experiencing a problem with excessive fogging. It’s possible that the heater coil is broken, which would explain why your heater isn’t functioning. Even though replacing the heater coils is an expensive endeavor, it will be well worth the money if you want to remain warm behind the wheel during the chilly winter afternoons.
7. Change Your Windshield Wiper Blades and Refill Your Wiper Fluid
Imagine that you are out on the road in the middle of the night when all of a sudden a storm of freezing rain passes over, and the sheets of water begin to hit your windscreen. You turn on your windshield wipers because you need to be able to see the road in order to travel safely, but nothing happens. Pieces of rubber flap against the glass in an ineffective manner, and the blades’ scraping does not make the view outside any clearer. Even in the worst snowstorm, you should be able to see clearly as long as your windshield wipers are in good working order and you have a good quantity of windshield wiper fluid. Because your windshield wiper blades are made of rubber, they will eventually crack, divide, and deteriorate over time; therefore, you should replace them every six to twelve months. Filling up your windshield wiper fluid is another good idea because the fluid can help break up snow and ice that has accumulated on the windscreen.
To better clear your windshield of snow and ice, you should seriously consider investing in wiper blades that are specifically intended for use in colder climates. Maintain the correct fluid level by utilizing a fluid that has a winter combination that prevents the fluid from freezing even at the lowest winter temperature.
8. Examine Your Car’s Belts and Hoses
The belts and hoses that help your engine operate can become more fragile when exposed to cold weather. Even if you are driving a relatively new vehicle, you should still have the belts and hoses examined for signs of wear and strain. When it is time for a tune-up, a mechanic will typically inspect the pulleys and hoses located under the hood of your vehicle. (usually every 30,000 miles). Belts and hoses are susceptible to damage from low temperatures, and if something snaps or breaks while you are driving on the road, you will need to wait for a lift truck in order to get your vehicle moving again.
9. Do You Have Four-Wheel Drive?
If this is the case, it is imperative that you check the condition of your four-wheel drive system and ensure that it is functioning appropriately before the onset of winter. This is particularly important for those who do not use their four-wheel drive systems during the summer, as now is an excellent time to brush up on how to use it. If the four-wheel drive system is in good working order, it will enable the vehicle to maintain better traction when traveling on snowy and icy roads.
A properly operating system has the potential to increase tire traction on snow and ice, thereby reducing the likelihood of becoming trapped. It is important to consult the owner’s handbook of the vehicle in order to learn how to activate the four-wheel drive system as well as the ideal conditions in which to use it. Make sure that the system can be readily activated and deactivated, and that all of the drivers in your household are aware of how and when the system should be activated.
10. Pack an Emergency Kit in Your Car
You never know when a terrible blizzard will catch you off guard and leave you abandoned on the side of the road. When traveling in chilly weather, one of the easiest things you can do to prepare for it is to make sure you have a few important supplies and tools on you at all times. Since you and your car won’t be able to move anywhere with frozen snow obstructing your vision, an ice scraper is an absolute requirement.
If you find yourself stranded on the road late at night when visibility is poor, having a flashlight and some pyrotechnics can be of great assistance. If your heating unit isn’t functioning correctly, you can still stay warm and dry by adding an additional pair of gloves, boots, or even a blanket to what you’re already wearing. Even if you have a coat on. In addition, you should bring things like food and water, as well as emergency supplies, winches, dry alcohol, beacons, reflective lights, and most importantly, food and water… in order to protect your personal safety and be prepared for inclement weather or traffic jams.
To properly prepare your vehicle for the winter, we believe that you should commit to memory the information that was presented above. Please let us know if you have any other suggestions for getting your car ready for winter and maintaining it in good condition throughout the season.