Winter driving is challenging, but you can keep you and your loved ones safe by preparing your vehicle for the upcoming winter conditions.
Proper winterization of your car or truck mean a lot of factors need to be accounted for. Here is a three-item checklist that can get you ready for when the snow flies.
1. Put winter tires on your vehicle.
Winter tires should be installed and will perform optimally once temperature reach 7 degrees celsius. The rubber compound in this type of tire lets them maintain flexibility and grip ice and snow for the best traction.
It's also a good idea to look at the air pressure in each tire including your spare. The cold air can drop the pressure in your tire affecting how your car or truck digs into the snow. By also checking your spare also look at your tire change kit and make sure it is intact.
2. Check your fluids, systems and any hardware.
Checking, changing or topping up your fluids is a good idea. The can include your engine coolant, wiper fluid or even your gas. Keep half a tank of gas in the car during winter driving in case you are in a traffic jam where you'll be idling or if you go off the roach in a ditch finding yourself in a position where you need to warm up as you run the engine intermittently. Keeping a full tank of gas can be a deterrent for condensation within the gas tank and lines, which is a possibility during winter months.
Checking the wiper blades and your battery, brakes and belts is another preventative measure for winter driving. It's recommended that wiper blades be changed twice each year to be able to remove blowing snow and rain. Make sure the working order of your battery is sufficient to start and run your vehicle throughout the winter. The performance of your brakes is critical when your car has to perform on ice and snow, so when your car is being winterized check the brakes, the engine belts and hoses.
Have your a/c and exhaust systems looked at. A lot of drivers don't know that the vehicle's air conditioning system is what defrosts and de-humidifies the inside of your vehicle. Also avoid leaking exhaust pipes or mufflers that can result in the reduction of your vehicle's performance and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. When doing this also make sure your block heater is fully functional.
3. Ensure your car has an emergency kit.
This should have supplies for you and any passengers. This should include a first aid kit, bottled water, health bars, boots, gloves and another winter jacket. It's important to dress for winter each day when driving, regardless if it looks sunny or mild when you leave because you could drive into a blizzard on your way home.
The kit should also have items for your vehicle such as: