Winter is definitely here and preparing your car to head out into it is better done late than never.
The snowy weather is certainly upon a large amount of the country and while it is best to winterize everything – from each tire to the windshield and interior of the vehicle – well in advance of the cold weather, it’s better done late than never at all.
When the thermometer mercury falls, the roads and a vehicle’s performance will change dramatically.
Drivers who keep their vehicles (and driving habits) winterized have a better chance of properly coping with winter road conditions and are less likely to be involved in a crash. Winter weather requires drivers to pay attention to everything from the right kind of tire to the proper tools kept within the cabin. It also involves some regular maintenance to ensure that the winterizing efforts continue to perform throughout the length of the season.
Many people still don’t realize the importance of a good quality winter tire and keeping it properly inflated.
When drivers wait until a storm has already hit, they won’t be able to achieve nearly as many benefits from winterizing their vehicles as they would if they made some advance preparations. According to experienced mechanics, there are some very quick and easy tricks that drivers can use to keep themselves safe on icy roads.
The first step is to choose the right kind of tire. All seasons – despite their name – are not appropriate for the most frigid temperatures, for lots of snow and for icy road surfaces. Winter or snow tires are a better idea. That said, checking the inflation of the tires on a regular basis is vital to obtaining the best performance from them. Temperature fluctuations also have an impact on inflation. Keeping a good pressure gauge handy and using it regularly will make a surprising difference in vehicle handling and control.
As important as the right tire is having a battery checked to ensure it turns, that there isn’t any corrosion and that it’s clean. Fluids should all be topped up, particularly those that are important for removing ice from the vehicle. Always clean off the entire car when snow covers it, including the roof, as that ice and snow will blow off as the vehicle starts to move, becoming extremely dangerous to other cars and even pedestrians. Finally, just in case, keep a very good emergency road-side kit with jumper cables, a glass hammer, a seatbelt cutter, flares, and a thermal blanket, among other helpful tools.