Twinkling lights, decorated trees, and holiday cheer mean one thing: winter is almost here, and with it comes hazardous road conditions. If you’re like 77% of car owners, your vehicle is in need of maintenance or repair. So before you let holiday cheer take over, you should make sure that your car is ready for the weather ahead. Here’s what you or your auto repair shop should be doing to ensure that you get to all of your destinations safely.
Drive for Conditions
First of all, make sure you drive for the road conditions you encounter in winter weather. Snow, ice, and rain make stopping more difficult and accidents more likely. You should take corners slowly, tap your brakes, and leave plenty of space between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re driving.
Have Emergency Supplies
Even if your vehicle isn’t in need of a tune-up service, you should pack emergency supplies to keep in your car during the colder months. Make sure to have an ice scraper, shovel, booster cables, a flashlight, road flares, food, water, gloves, a hat, blankets, and first aid supplies. You never know what you may need if you were to get stranded in a blizzard or break down.
Replace Windshield Wipers
Cold weather can cause your windshield wiper blades to crack or split. If you hear them squeaking, it’s time to replace them. It’s a good idea to replace them every year, especially before the winter weather hits. It’s equally important to top off your windshield wiper fluid or change it to antifreeze fluid. Dirty road conditions go hand in hand with snow, sleet, ice, and rain.
Check Your Tires
Tires can be the most important factor in keeping your car on the road in hazardous weather. Check the tire pressure often in the cold weather and check that you have enough tread left. If you don’t, visit your auto repair shop or a tire shop to replace your tires, rotate them, or put on snow tires.
Test Your Brakes
You or your auto repair shop should make sure to check out your brakes, which can be vital in poor weather. Brake service should include checking brake fluid and pads. If you hear whining when you hit the brakes, it may be time to replace the pads.
Check Your Battery
You should check your car battery when there are colder temperatures because the cold can affect the battery. The last thing you want is to head out to the car after a day of holiday shopping just to have your car not start.
Change Your Oil
Before winter hits, get the oil changed in your car. Oil can be more sluggish in winter weather, and an oil change is one of the quickest and easiest services you can get.
Examine Your Antifreeze
Antifreeze will prevent your engine from freezing up when it gets cold outside. Have your auto repair shop do a coolant test to check it. Antifreeze should be changed every few years.
Flush Your Heater
If you notice that it takes forever for your car to warm up even if the heat is turned all the way up, you should have your heater flushed out. This can clean out the heater core tubes, which will make your car heat up more quickly.
Check Your Four-Wheel Drive
If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you should know how to use it and you should make sure that it’s working. You may need it when the snow piles up.
Oil Your Doors
There’s nothing worse than heading out to the car early in the morning and not being able to open the door. If you put a little oil along the opening of the car doors, they won’t freeze shut to begin with.
The approaching winter weather means more time with family and friends and more time on the road. Make sure that your car is ready in advance to avoid accidents and break downs. You can have happier holidays knowing that you and your loved ones will be safe.