Preparing your Vehicle for Winter

As the winter season inevitably approaches, you may find yourself taking advantage of the remaining warm days, digging coats and scarves out of hibernation and dusting off the snow shovel in preparation for the upcoming season. As the days become shorter and the temperature drops, preparing your vehicle to endure the unpredictable weather of the winter season is another important precaution you can take to protect the safety of yourself and your family. Below we examine some areas of consideration that may help you prepare your vehicle to endure the frigid months ahead:

-Mechanical check-up: A basic check for proper functioning of your vehicle’s battery, windshield wipers and fluid, all lights, defroster, exhaust system, brakes, thermostat and heater can give you insight into what systems and components may benefit from maintenance or replacement before the winter weather arrives in full force. Now is a good time to perform any preventative maintenance you may have put off. Repair or replace damaged belts, hoses or other components if needed to protect against a needless breakdown in dreadfully cold temperatures.

-Proper type and level of coolant: Coolant is comprised of a combination of water and anti-freeze, which when used in the correct proportions will resist freezing. However, improper mixtures of water and anti-freeze can result in a freeze with the potential to cause serious damage to your engine. Ensure that the coolant in your vehicle is mixed correctly and suitable for the weather conditions in your area. It is also beneficial to repair any leaks that may be present and change your vehicle’s coolant as recommended by the manufacturer.

-Adapt your vehicle to the climate in your area. If you have recently moved to a new area, you may want to consider exercising any precautions that the wise and seasoned drivers living in your area suggest. In extremely cold climates, this may mean having a block heater installed to ensure that your vehicle starts on even the coldest of mornings. A set of snow tires may also be a sensible purchase for those living in areas that receive regular snowfall. The proper precautions to take will depend on the climate in the area in which you live. In Minnesota, for instance, snow tires are practically a necessity, while in southern Florida, not so much.

-Emergency stockpile. Hopefully, your meticulous preparation will pay off with an incident free winter of driving. But just as uncertain as the winter weather is whether your car will break down in the midst of it, and being prepared with some key safety items can improve your defense against the elements in the event that you become stranded. A first aid kit can come in handy year round, but storing a few additional supplies in your trunk for the winter season is a good idea. A strong ice scraper, ice brush, jumper cables, working flashlight, blanket, extra warm clothing, emergency road flares and sand or other material for traction are a few of the items that may be included in a winter emergency kit.

Even when your vehicle is fully prepared to brave a winter storm, the surest way to stay safe is avoiding driving in adverse conditions whenever possible, and practicing tremendous caution at times when driving is necessary.

About the Author: Greg Chapman, of Greg Chapman Motors, is a leading provider of used cars in Austin TX. For more information please visit Greg Chapman Motors.

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