October is Fall Car Care Month, which means it’s time to start getting your vehicle prepared for the icy, snowy months ahead. As a driver you know the struggles of avoiding black ice, clearing ice and snow from your vehicle and waiting for it to warm up each morning. Following these maintenance tips can help make sure your car is in proper shape to handle whatever winter throws at you.
The cold weather can cause your tires to drop in pressure by about 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature drops. When your tires are low in air it can affect the way your vehicle handles, increase the chances of a blown tire and decrease your fuel efficiency. So make sure they’re properly inflated. You can check what the proper PSI is for your vehicle’s tires by looking at the sticker on the inside of the driver door.
Tire Tread & Type
Winter roads can be extra tricky between snow, ice and the cold weather. This means that your tires are not only taking an extra beating but they’re also playing an extra important role in keeping you safe. Tire tread is what allows your tires to grip and not slide. Not only do you want to check tread depth, but you also want to consider what type of tire you are running. Consider snow tires for passenger vehicles or all-terrain tires for trucks during winter.
Check Your Battery
Due to the cold weather, the chemical reactions in your car battery are slowed down during the winter, causing your engine to require more current from your battery to start. To avoid battery related car troubles this winter check your battery terminals and wires for rust, cracks, and proper connections and have your battery tested to make sure it’s properly charged and has enough power to handle the winter.
Coolant consists of a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze and it keeps your engine from overheating while your vehicle is running. During the winter, if this mixture isn’t just right, it can also freeze and cause damage. So before the weather gets cold, simply check to make sure that the mixture is correct and that your coolant is topped off.
Check Your Wipers
Most wiper blades are only good for six months to a year, so if your wipers are starting to leave streaks on your windshield when it rains, now is a good time to replace them. There are plenty of potential risks during the winter months, and adding reduced visibility can only make it worse. While you’re checking the effectiveness of your current wipers, it’s a good idea to top off your wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean of salt and precipitation throughout these months.
Have an Emergency Kit in Your Car
Having your vehicle break down or winding up in a fender bender can be stressful enough without adding the cold weather to the mix. Keep these items in your car to make these situations less stressful in case they do occur: properly functioning jumper cables, water, warm blanket, first-aid kit, jack & tire iron, road flares or reflective triangle, flashlight, extra food and some kitty litter or sand for traction in case you get stuck.
The wintertime can be absolutely beautiful. Freshly fallen snow, snowmen, snowboarding (or tubing if that’s your thing), hot cocoa and the holidays all certainly make it a time to look forward to! Keeping on top of your vehicle’s maintenance and preparing for the season ahead of time is a great way to ensure that you can focus on these awesome memories without dealing with unnecessary vehicle stresses.
Happy Fall Care Month!