10 Tips on Prepping Your Car for Cooler Weather

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Autumn is upon us and now is the time to think about winterizing your vehicle. Consistently gauging tire pressure, considering a change to snow tires, and being certain your heater is working are all great places to start. Buying new tires can be expensive, but you can offset the cost by saving some money on your car insurance bill. Did you know switching insurance companies is the best way to find cheap auto insurance? In addition, consider these wintery tips:

  • Invest in Winter Tires. Depending on where you live, consider changing out your regular tires to all-season or snow tires. Either tire will provide you with better braking control, superior traction, and the ability to make it through winter unscathed. Facing icy and snow covered roadways doesn’t have to be intimidating when you make the right tire choice.
  • Check Tires Weekly. When temperatures outside drop, tire pressure drops along with it. When your tires are not inflated to their proper pressure, you face an increase possibility in a blowout, less fuel economy and increase tire wear, which in itself increases the possibility for accidents. Get yourself a good tire gauge, find the optimal PSI for your vehicle on the inside of the driver’s door, and make it a weekly practice to be certain they are inflated properly.
  • Create an Emergency Kit. Winter weather can create hazardous and life-threatening conditions. Getting into an accident or stuck on the side of the road is more likely during the winter than in any other season. Creating a winter emergency kit to keep inside of your car will help you feel safe when conditions are bad. Include items such as an ice scraper, non-perishable snacks, extra blanket, flashlight with batteries, portable charger, mittens and hats, and jumper cables.
  • Heater Check. It’s bad enough getting inside of a freezing car but it’s even worse if you’re well on your way to your destination and the heater decides not to work! Before the flakes fly, make certain the heater and the defroster are both working in optimal condition so you can be warm and toasty on your winter trips.
  • Test the Windshield Wipers. Your ability to see while driving is paramount to your safety on the road. Without good windshield wipers you’re going to face smears, smudges, streaks and skips, all of which impair your vision and increase the possibility of a collision. Inspect your wipers for tears and test them with wiper fluid or the next time it rains to be certain they work smoothly.
  • Top off Fluids. You won’t get very far if the fluids in your car are either bad or scarce. The main 6 fluids to check before winter are: brake fluid, transmission fluid, engine oil, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze and power steering fluid. Keep an eye on them over the winter so you’re not caught off guard on a freezing winter’s night.
  • Keep Gas Tank Full. There are a couple of benefits to keeping the gas tank full during the winter season. First, if you’re lucky enough to find reasonably priced gas, you take advantage of filling up the tank as cheaply as possible. Second, by keeping your gas tank full you stop water from collecting inside and freezing the fuel pump which can cause deterioration and lead to issues (and breakdowns) in the future.
  • Check Light Quality. Being at work all day means that most of your driving will be done during the dark hours. The quality and brightness of your lights will significantly affect your ability to see and be seen. Ask a friend to help you determine that all of your lights and brake lights are working and not burned out. Be sure to clear all of them of snow and ice before driving.
  • Proper Battery Maintenance. Now is the time to make sure your car’s battery is working its best. Have the voltage checked, look for and clean any corrosion and make sure all of the connections are secure and that the battery is seated properly. If the battery is not up to optimal levels, consider replacing it for a new one to avoid stall outs in the months to come.
  • Lubricate Window Tracks. Use dry Teflon spray or spray silicone to lubricate the window tracks on your vehicle. Make sure you use enough so it drips down into the track completely so when water seeps down there (and it will) you won’t have a difficult time operating the window itself. Once you’ve applied the lubricant, open and close the window several times to work the spray through the system. Use a paper towel and glass cleaner to remove excess spray.