Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving
Emily Sperry December 24, 2019
The winter is the worst time to take a long drive, but we all do it anyway. Whether you’re commuting in the snow or traveling to see family for the holidays, it’s important to prepare your car for safe driving in the winter. Not only will a little car prep reduce the chance of a wreck, you can also avoid the challenge of a car insurance claim.
Preparing your car for winter driving is a simple checklist that you can take care of one step at a time, as necessary. This guide assumes you live somewhere that has annual snow or will be driving through freezing conditions at some point during the holiday traveling.
The first step for winter driving is to get your vehicle a full maintenance inspection. You want to take care of any minor repairs the vehicle might need before putting it to the test on winter roads. If a belt is wearing out, if your defroster fan is down, you need to know that and prevent those problems now rather than later. Take your vehicle in for a check and quickly wrap up any flaws that might be detected. Before you’re driving on ice.
Speaking of driving on ice, your tires will need grip for reliable traction. This means relatively new tires designed for all-weather or winter driving. Early winter is a good time to have your tires changed or rotated. Many residents of very snowy areas switch to their winter tires when the cold weather blows in. If you’re traveling this holiday, be sure to have all-weather tires to handle anything the long highways have in store.
Snow Chains (mountains)
If you are going into high altitudes or steep, rocky terrains; equip snow chains. Chaining up is non-optional in some parts of the country, especially in the middle of winter. Research your travel route to determine if you will need tire chains. If you do need tire chains. practice putting them on and taking them off in your driveway before trying to do it on the side of a steep mountain highway.
Winter Formula Wiper Fluid
Windshield wiper fluid is a life-saving feature of modern cars and when you need it, you need it. In the winter, you need wiper fluid that will clean the windshield without immediately forming a rippling sheet of ice. This is done by replacing your wiper fluid with winter formula wiper fluid. It has a higher alcohol content, so it won’t freeze and can even help you deice a frosty windshield.
Replace Windshield Wiper Blades
Ice rips up wiper blades. It’s a sad but true fact because you need to destroy those wiper blades knocking away the ice. Use a car ice scraper before getting into the driver’s seat to help out your wipers and replace your wiper blades as often as necessary. It’s better to replace your wiper blades and have visibility than to drive without visibility.
Fuel Fluid Deicer
Your fuel line may also need protection from freezing. Keeping the gas tank reasonably full can help prevent the fuel from freezing. A small amount of fuel deicer in the tank once a month can also help prevent the fuel moisture from freezing during the winter.
Inspect All Lights and Bulbs
Lights are very important for winter driving, both for your safety and those around you. Your headlights provide essential illumination on icy roads and alert others to your vehicle’s location on the road. This means you want all your lights in good condition before driving through the winter. Take a walk around your vehicle and ensure all your lights shine in the proper settings.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Finally, pack your car in case of emergency. Make sure you have everything you need to either change a tire or survive in the car during a winter storm. Inside the cabin of the vehicle, pack water and blankets and other survival gear. In the trunk, pack tools and work gloves. This way, you will be safe if you have to pull over or spin off the road during a winter storm.
Winterizing your car is a great way to prepare your entire season plans for travel. Whether you’re driving to work in the snow or visiting family, it’s important to stay safe in a vehicle that is prepared for the road conditions ahead. When you’re prepared, accidents are less likely and your auto insurance goes untouched. For more great winter safety advice or to optimize your auto insurance, contact us today!