The cold weather can make it harder than ever to find the motivation to work on your car, especially if it means being outside for longer than a few minutes — but winter roads provide unique driving challenges that deserve some extra preparation.
A little work ahead of time can save you from bigger problems down the line. Follow these seven important car care tips to make sure your vehicles stay in great shape and keep your family safe all season long!
Keep your lights bright.
With the sun setting earlier in the day, there’s less daylight for your commute. Foggy, snowy conditions alone can make it hard for other drivers to see you on the road. When you couple that with darkness? It’s a dangerous mix.
Make sure your lights are bright and working properly to keep you and fellow drivers safe. Replace your bulbs around or just before wintertime, and thoroughly brush off any snow or ice covering an external light before driving.
Check your coolant levels.
Coolant / antifreeze serves an important purpose in keeping your engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Make sure your car has plenty of coolant, and confirm that there aren’t any engine leaks that might cause it to drain out. If you notice anything unusual, or your coolant level starts to drop quickly, get your car in to your maintenance shop for a check up.
Don’t let your fuel tank run empty.
A full gas tank can prevent water from freezing inside your fuel pump — and it’ll also keep your engine running and the heat on if you ever become stuck in a snowy ditch! Manually pumping gas in the cold is no fun, so try to plan ahead and fuel up before your tank hits empty. It’s a good idea to keep your fuel level at least a quarter full.
Keep your tire pressure high and wear low.
Did you know your car’s tire pressure can also drop alongside temperatures? Low pressure leads to premature wear, which makes your car handle more unpredictably — and that’s the last thing anyone needs in the snow and ice.
Keep your tire pressure at the recommended psi for your specific vehicle year-round, and consider increasing it a little, typically 3-5 psi higher, when the cold bites.
Check your defrost system.
Your defroster is crucial to making sure your windows don’t ice up and decrease your ability to see the road and other drivers clearly in the cold weather. Make sure you check that your window defroster is working properly, and address any problems right away.
Keep your battery in good shape.
Cold temperatures reduce your battery’s cranking power. No one wants their car to be unable to start on a particularly chilly morning! Make sure you check your battery when the temperatures start to drop.
A tired battery may need nothing more than to be recharged. If it’s more than five years old and shows any signs of weakness, though, it’s best to replace it altogether.
Check and replace your wiper blades.
Wiper blades wear out over time and eventually clean your windshield less and less. The worst time to find this out is in the middle of the season’s worst blizzard — so check your windshield wiper blades regularly and replace them right away if they start leaving streaks of uncleared precipitation.
Lindow Insurance is here for you
Winter weather in the midwest can be full of surprises, but being prepared makes all the difference. We’re here to help you stay safe all season long. Contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss our available insurance policies that would best fit you and your family’s needs.