Friday, November 29, 2013

How To Winterize Your Car In 10 Easy Steps

How to Winterize Your Car in 10 Easy Steps

 The freezing temperatures in winter months can be hard on you and your car. Here a few quick tips to keep you safe on the road this winter.  How to prep your car for winter.

Emergency Kit
Make sure you have some kind of an emergency kit in your car. Something to help you out if you end up on the side of the road.  The smallest things can help the most in the middle of a winter storm or on the side of the road.  Here are a few simple things to keep with you.
  •       Blanket
  •         Extra Water and Food
  •          Hand warmers or extra pair of gloves
  •         Ice Scraper
  •         Small Shovel and Kitty Litter (Sand and Kitty Litter help with traction)
  •          Ice Scraper
  •          Flashlight
  •         Flare
  •         Jumper Cables

Belts & Hoses
Be sure to look over all of your belts and hoses for cracks or splits.  The Rubber and weaved material are strong, but when they are up against freezing temperatures and frozen stiff the smallest things can be a cause for trouble.

Locked out?
Glycerine works as a great way to quickly de-ice your vehicle. Vehicles can become frozen shut and even worse, if you don’t have keyless entry it could be impossible to turn your key in a frozen door lock. It is sold at most automotive retailers and hardware stores and can be purchased in small tubes and easily stored in a work desk, purse or backpack. Be sure to keep it somewhere accessible, as a glove box may not be to helpful if you are locked out.

Protect that Windshield
A lack of visibility is an accident waiting to happen.  Snow, Slush and Salt come from all directions when on the road and can easily dirty up that windshield. Make sure you have plenty of antifreeze style windshield washer fluid under the hood and in the car. Along with washer-fluid, make sure you have fairly new windshield wipers. $30 bucks can be the difference from a clear windshield and a smashed car. Sometimes it’s just not worth the risk to hold off.

Snow Tires
Good tires make or break traction in a winter snow flurry or even when trying to get out of a parking spot. Winter snow tires should be a must if your vehicle doesn’t have All Wheel Drive capabilities.  It may seem like a big investment, but it’s worth it even for those few times you’re trying to make it up the hill to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner. Snow tires can last several years as well, they are only used for a few months and then stored away until next season.

Battery Capacity
Being stranded at 6 o’ clock after work is not fun. Car batteries can be stubborn in winter, the cold weather affects its charge capacity.  Be sure to check the fluid level in your battery, this can be inspected by popping off the refill caps or may even have an indicator on the side of the battery. If the fluid is low, refill it with Distilled Water to prevent corrosion inside of the battery.  Be sure to check the voltage, many stores will do this for free.  If you are in the need of buying a new battery, be sure to check the date on the new one in the store, don’t buy one that is older than 4 months.

A good Scraping
Be sure to buy a reliable ice scraper, if you choose to go cheap you may end up with something that merely streaks your windshield with lines.  A stronger, longer scraper is great for removing frozen snow in tire wells, under bumpers and in your suspension. All of these can lead to small issues over time.

The air in the tires drops 1psi (Pounds per Square Inch) every 10 degrees in temperature change, warmer or colder. This can lead to poor gas mileage, abnormal wear on the tires. Something so small and so easy can lead to a hefty price tag.  Newer cars will shine the bright orange light in your face when your vehicle’s tire pressure is off.

Engine Cooling
The coolant running through your engine is a big deal in extremely cold temperatures. This fluid helps keep your cars internals from corroding and free of rust.  The mixture should be up to par as well, for the winter it should be closer to 60% Antifreeze and 40% water. If there is too much water, the car’s radiator will actually freeze up and the vehicle will overheat. This can be costly.

Spare a Spare
Be sure to keep the spare tire in your trunk, or under your car filled with air. The spare can deflate a bit in the winter and if the time ever comes that this is needed, you don’t want to find out you now have two flat tires!


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