A Few Simple Suggestions To Make Your Winter Driving Easier

A Few Simple Suggestions To Make Your Winter Driving Easier

Winter is coming quicker than we realize and a few steps of prevention can protect from the frustration of being stranded in a storm and hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair from them. Don’t get caught unprepared in the middle of a snow storm with a broken down vehicle and follow these steps to winterize your vehicle to make it easier on you.

Perform a maintenance check before it gets cold.

Get this done sometime in the Fall before the first frost so you know what you need to do to winterize your vehicle. Check your battery cleanliness and strength, as battery power decreases as the temperature decreases. It is recommended that your battery is at or above 600CA for optimal winter performance. If you have an older battery, it is recommended you get it tested or replaced before winter.

Check the cooling system, it is recommended that your antifreeze to water level is between 50/50 or 70/30. Check with your owner’s guide or mechanic on which ratio to use for your vehicle if you are uncertain. Proper antifreeze levels prevent corrosion and freezing. Belts, hoses, and spark plugs should all be thoroughly checked so you are not stranded somewhere in the cold. Make sure the car heater is working at full capacity to keep it warm and toasty.

Practice your winter driving skills.

Be mindful that driving on icy roads takes more caution than your usual driving style. Going slow around corners and tapping your brakes are also safe winter driving skills. Make sure any driver of the vehicle is prepared to drive on winter roads before they drive the vehicle.

Wash it and wax it!

Snow and ice and the winter season cause a lot of ice, snow, dust and salt that can erode paint. Keeping the exterior of your car clean and waxing it will help protect the paint from winter conditions.

Get new blades for that windshield.

Install winter wipers. Winter wipers contain a special rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades, which is helpful when you are trying to navigate a road with snow stuck to your windshield. They also provide protection from ice building up on the hinges. Be sure to remove them when spring comes back around so you don’t put too much pressure on the wiper motor.

Keep up with the windshield washer fluid levels.

If the temperature regularly dips to below freezing in your area, check our windshield washer fluid that contains antifreeze properties to it. A single snowstorm can use up all of your windshield fluid, so make sure it’s fully filled and keep an extra bottle in your car, just in case you run out. A DIY way to keep windows free of ice or snow is to apply a mixture of 1 part water with 3 parts of any kind vinegar either before the winter conditions hit or while defrosting the vehicle. The acid of the vinegar lessens the ice and frost built up on the auto glass.

Have a winter safety kit available.

It is best to be prepared. You can make your own or buy one. 

Suggestions for making your own include: 

  • Pack of matches
  • First Aid kit
  • Roadside flares or a reflective triangle
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Tire inflator or portable air compressor and tire patch kit
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm blankets
  • Warm clothing, like an extra jacket, hat, socks and boots
  • Non-perishable food and beverages
  • Water bottles
  • A tow strap
  • Traction mat
  • Jumper cables
  • A bag of sand or kitty litter and a shovel
  • Car tool kit
  • A fully charged cell phone and phone charger
  • Extra antifreeze

Stay on top of your vehicle standard maintenance.

Make sure all scheduled oil changes and filter checks are still planned, even in the cold temperatures. Old oil will move more sluggishly through the engine. Use a thinner oil during winter months. Cold weather reduces the oil’s effectiveness. The colder it is outside, the thicker the oil gets. Thick oil does not circulate through your engine as easily as thin does, and your engine doesn’t get the lubrication it needs during start up.

You’ll need some rubber to stick to that pavement (or snow).

Check your tire tread to ensure they aren’t worn down. If they are balding, it is time to replace them. Be sure to maintain proper tire pressure. Every 10 degrees in temperature could make a gain or loss of 1 PSI. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for the appropriate pressure for your tires and then check them regularly. Proper tire pressure ensures you can deal with icy road conditions better.

Install winter tires. If you live somewhere where there are extreme low temperatures, it is recommended that you get winter tires on your vehicle. All season tires are ok if you do not see a lot of snow or ice in your area, but winter tires use special compounds to resist hardening and provide better traction in ice or snow. Winter tires may also be required by law in some states and conditions.

Make sure there’s at least half a gas tank full.

Not only do you want to make sure you have enough fuel to keep your vehicle running to keep you warm if you are stranded, a full tank reduces condensation, which can prevent gas line freeze ups. If you do get stranded or stuck in a snowstorm, do not leave your vehicle for risk of losing it. Do not leave your car running for long periods of time to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Turn it on long enough to stay warm and then off again. Turn your dome lights on to attract attention.

Clean all debris from your vehicle. 

Many states have laws against snow or ice obstructing the view through your auto glass. Make sure that all ice, snow, and any other debris are removed from your vehicle before driving it.

Keep your window defrosters in working order.

Make sure all the defrosters in your vehicle are working at all times. Many states have laws against windows being obstructed by ice or snow and your defrosters are one of the best defenses against this.

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    Got windshield cracks? Unsure of insurance coverage? Get free answers today!

      Enter your full name

      What is your glass issue?

      Enter a valid email

      Where can we reach you?

      Any additional information we should know about.