Cold and stormy weather introduces many challenges to our everyday lives – one of which is keeping our cars and trucks operating efficiently and safely.
Forecasters are expecting northeastern U.S. to harbor frequent storms and above-average snowfall this winter. They also report that temperatures in the northeast will average 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit lower than last year.
But don’t worry – it’s not too late to winterize your car!
There are several measures you can take right now to boost your chances of making it through the winter months problem-free. View our guide to staying safe and keeping your vehicle in good working order this frosty season.
Oil change. Get an oil change, but make sure to use the right engine oil for the winter. Manufacturers typically recommend thinner grades of oil for colder temperatures. Check your owner’s manual to ensure your engine has the correct grade of oil for the coldest months of the year.
Tires. Make sure you have ample tire tread to last the season. Better yet, replace your summer or all-season tires with a set of winter tires.
Windshield wipers. Replace your windshield wiper blades if they leave streaks. You can even install winter wipers.
Washer fluid. Fill your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid and monitor regularly.
Belts and Hoses. Examine your belts and hoses under the hood to ensure that they are in good condition.
Fully charged battery. Have your mechanic test your vehicle’s battery, or check it yourself if you are able. Examine for corrosion and check the fluid level. If you have a maintenance-free battery, make sure the display at the top indicates that it is fully charged.
Coolant. Try to have a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water inside your radiator to prevent it from freezing.
Lubricate locks. Apply lubricant or spray your door and trunk locks to prevent water from getting inside them and freezing you out of your vehicle.
Tire pressure. Maintain proper tire pressure and monitor regularly.
Fill up. Keep the gas tank at least half full in cold weather to prevent the gas line from freezing ups.
Warm up the engine. Let your car idle for a few minutes to warm the engine before beginning to drive. Wait until your temperature gauge moves up from the bottom peg before pushing your vehicle.
Stock up. Keep a bag of sand, salt, kitty litter, or other abrasive material to provide traction if your tires get stuck in snow. Also, have an extra set of warm clothes, gloves, an ice scraper, and a small shovel on hand in case of emergency.
Speaking of emergency…
Prepare a vehicle emergency kit. If you don’t have one already, now is the time to make it! A robust emergency kit should include:
- A flashlight
- Duct tape
- Bungee cords
- Bottled water
- Extra non-perishable food, such as a protein or energy bar
- Traffic cones
- Jumper cables
- A small tool kit consisting of pliers, a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, utility knife, and hardware
- A portable reserve power bank compatible with your cell phone
- A tire gauge
- Tire sealant
- A first-aid kit
- Paper towels or a cloth
- A quart of motor oil
- Spare windshield wipers and extra washer fluid
- An emergency blanket
- A poncho
We hope you find these tips useful and enjoy a safe winter on the road this year. For more information on auto safety or coverage, please contact us at 845-986-1177.
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