Winter is fast approaching and with that comes the challenges of winter car ownership and operation. For many, escaping to a snowy wonderland for the weekend is an appealing idea, and for others driving in those harsh conditions is a fact of life. Whatever the case may be, being prepared for hazardous driving conditions is of utmost importance when snowy and cold winter weather is forecasted. With this in mind we have put together a list of simple things that should help make those preparations a bit easier.
One, often overlooked, step towards safe driving is the vehicle's lighting. With winter comes darker skies that sneak up earlier and earlier in the day. It is important to make sure that your headlights, tail lights and turn signals are in proper working order before you set out on the road. To take this a step further, if your lights appear foggy or yellow, be sure to either replace them or look into an easy restoration kit. Another thing to take an important note of is to make sure that no snow is covering your lights, preventing them from working effectively. Take a quick walk around your vehicle and dust off any snow that you notice in front of the lights.
Car batteries have a more difficult time operating in cold weather than they do in warm weather. If you notice your battery has been a bit weak during the summer months it may very well turn into a dead battery come winter and cold weather. The solution for this is to have a volt test performed to ensure that the battery is in good working order. If it is not, simply be sure to replace that battery to avoid being stranded in the cold with a car that can't start.
Making sure that your fluids are topped off is important to ensuring that your engine does not freeze in cold temperatures. A 50/50 mixture of coolant and water is generally recommended to lower the engines freezing point. Be sure to check your coolant levels and inspect for any leaks before the winter months creep up.
AWD or 4WD are fantastic capabilities for you vehicle to have while driving in winter conditions, but without proper tires braking and turning can still be tough tasks to complete safely. Some form of winter tires will make your winter driving experiences significantly safer. These tires are designed to remain flexible in low temperatures which, in turn, improves traction around corners and while coming to a stop. Along these same lines tire pressure is something important to keep your eye on as well. Dropping temperatures can mean a potential drop in tire pressure. With drops in tire pressure comes more, unnecessary, wear on your tires which can be incredibly unsafe when proper traction is needed most.
Defroster & Climate Control
The importance of making sure these systems are working properly is fairly obvious. Climate control is there to make sure you stay warm, but, possibly more importantly, it is a feature that can keep your windows from fogging up, causing you to lose proper visibility. Your defroster takes this further by preventing the windows from completely icing over. Being certain that these features are working properly makes driving much safer in cold winter weather.
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