WINTER IS COMING
EPISODE II: 5 COLD-WEATHER CAR CLUES
The seasons, they are a-changing.
Whether you live in New England, the Southwest, or areas in between, Americans can’t escape the coming of winter, even though how winter is defined may differ. Your car also faces these same changes in seasons – with a little planning and effort, you can help prepare for…and be protected from…this upcoming winter.
Here are 5 ‘auto-matics’ to keep your car winterized.
- Give your tires the penny-test
Having sufficient tread on tires is a capitol idea in the winter. To check, take a penny and insert it with ‘heads’ pointing towards you and upside down. As Abe is inserted, if you can see the top of his head, you’re tread is worn and it may be time for new tires. Honest.
Also make sure the tires are properly inflated –trust the manufacturer’s specs listed in the car’s owner’s manual.
- Check the fluids
Just like an athlete, a car will perform optimally when the fluid levels are optimized. Anti-freeze is an obvious one for winter, but also be mindful of windshield fluid – keep an extra gallon in your trunk, as winter driving vision is essential to safety. Consider de-icing formulas particularly when temperatures drop below freezing (or even zero!).
And as always, get an oil-change with multi-point inspection before the really nasty weather is upon you – many of these levels can be checked and replaced at this time.
- Winter-ready wipers
And on the winter driving vision route, a multi-point inspection may indicate the need for new wipers. Winter can be particularly tough on wipers, new ones can be partially protected by flipping them up when parked outside and freezing rain or sleet is forecast. It makes cleaning off the windows that much easier – and actually looks like they’re waving “hello” when you come back to the car.
- Ice scrapers – one rule
The simplest rule for scraping ice and snow off of the vehicle’s windows – make sure you have one! This is an annual race of which comes first – remembering to move the scrapers back into the car from the garage OR the first ‘scrapable’ snow and ice occurring. Too often, winter wins.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit
Make sure you’re ready to face a potentially dangerous winter scenario with a well-stocked emergency kit. Remember to include as many of the following as possible:
- Several heavy blankets
- A strong flashlight with new batteries (and an extra set)
- A small snow shovel
- 5 pound bag of sand (or even kitty-litter)
- Hearty, shelf-stable snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.), plus water in an expandable container
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
A note about the last item: really worth the investment of as little as $11.00 for a decent set of jumpers – just be certain to keep them in the back of your car – they don’t do much good sitting in the garage (from experience!).
Just like the cable TV show reminds, Winter Is Coming – make sure your car is protected with these simple winterizing steps.