How to Prep Your Car for Safe Winter Driving

winter drivingWinter weather can be harsh on your car, especially if you live in an area that experiences particularly frosty seasonal weather. There are some precautions you can take to prepare your vehicle for winter.

Cold weather can affect the life of your car’s battery, so it will be a good idea to check yours by having a local mechanic test it and make sure that there is no developing corrosion. Even simply tightening the battery connections can help. Electric and hybrid vehicles should also be aware that their driving range will be reduced in cold weather. The battery systems will work better after being given a little time to warm up.

It will be important to have more than just your battery checked, especially if you have an older car. Visit a mechanic for routine maintenance and to make sure your car is in good working order. Check your cooling system coolant can freeze in cold weather, causing it to expand. This can damage your car’s engine block. Additionally, you will want to make sure you are using the proper oil for the conditions you are in. You may need to switch to a thinner oil if you are in an area that gets below freezing temperatures.

During the winter months, it is likely you will use quite a lot of windshield wiper fluid. As such, it would be wise to buy some extra to have on hand. You may also want to make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and replace the blades if necessary.

If you live in an area where it snows, plan to use snow tires and have them ready to install before it is too late. Even if you are not in an area with snow, you should still inspect your tires, especially if you are going on a long trip.

Lastly, no matter what season it is, it is always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car that includes items such as a flashlight, flares, a blanket, extra windshield fluid, an ice scraper, extra coolant, and a first aid kit. Preparation can help keep you safe even when facing an emergency. Stay safe this holiday season.

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