Winter is a great time to head out on the road for some weather-appropriate activities. Ski resorts, holiday gatherings, and winter festivals all beckon during the winter months. Indeed, it is one of the most wonderful times of the year.
But the height of winter has been proven to be disastrous for vehicles that aren’t winter-ready. Winter weather can be harsh on any vehicle, and simply keeping operating your car safely can be a challenge.
As many parts of the world transition to winter, it may be time to winterize your car. Not only does it ensure that your car operates smoothly throughout the winter months, but you and your family are safer when your vehicle is prepared for challenging driving conditions. But what exactly does it mean to winterize your car?
It means more than just equipping your car with adequate tires and inspecting your automotive bearings. In winter’s harsh conditions, the right maintenance and preparation can help your vehicle withstand even the toughest weather without compromising the health or status of your whole mechanic.
Here are five ways to prepare your car and keep your family safe over the winter months:
1. Regular maintenance
The transition to winter is a great time to perform a maintenance check on your vehicle particularly if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.
Be sure to check all the fluids. If these have been neglected, winter is the time to top them up. Check, and if necessary, change the following in your car:
- Brake fluids
- Transmission fluids
It may seem like overkill, but at the height of winter, you’ll be glad you took care of all your vehicle’s fluid needs than be sorry in the end due to different mechanical problems that may arise.
Have your battery tested as well. Battery capacity significantly diminishes in cold weather. It’s important to have a well-performing battery so you’re not stuck in the middle of the road in the dead of winter.
2. Check your tires
Top bearing companies recommend that tires are inspected and rotated before winter arrives in full blast. In harsh, cold or wet weather conditions, the last thing you should be doing is to drive on bald tires.
Inspect the rest of the wheel assembly as well. If needed, replace your wheel bearings, make sure your brakes are not warped or cracked, and make sure your vehicle has a spare tire. It’s good to know that the latter has enough air in it, and make sure everything is functioning properly.
3. Install new wiper blades
As your wiper blades should be changed at least twice a year, winter is the perfect time to replace them. During winter, driving conditions are challenging at best. Even in areas where precipitation is moderate, your vision may be impaired by winter road conditions which can possibly cause you harm as well as the people you’ll be traveling with.
Installing new wiper blades is a relatively inexpensive way to keep you and your family safe even in the harshest driving conditions as these ensure that you can see properly while driving. Use quality anti-freeze windshield washer to guarantee perfect vision.
4. Inspect your lights
Your windshield wipers are not the only way to increase your visual clarity. When dealing with winter fog or heavy snow, you would also want other motorists on the road to be able to see you. It’s vital to have fully functioning headlights and brake lights during the winter months. These will prevent road collisions and keep everyone safe on the road by sending off any signals to any vehicles in front of or behind you.
Inspect your lights and, if necessary, replace them before the winter season. Test each light system to ensure each is working properly as doing so will ensure good visibility for everyone on the road.
5. Build a car emergency kit
During the winter months, poor driving conditions and disagreeable weather can create havoc for motorists on the road. Road collisions may occur more often, leaving drivers stranded on the side of the road. If you do find yourself in such a predicament, you’ll be happy that you’ve prepared a car emergency kit. This is what mostly saves everyone when they get stuck in an unimaginable situation.
Much like your vehicle, you should winterize your emergency kit (including your everyday survival kit). Pack winter items such as:
- Spare blankets
- A small shovel
- Extra floor mats
- A snow brush
Be sure to pack extra food (preferably non-perishable) and water so you have something to snack on while you wait for roadside assistance.
Depending on personal preferences, your emergency kit may carry even more stuff. Be sure to pack your emergency kit accordingly.
Your vehicle is a gateway to winter’s many unique activities. Don’t let it be the reason you experience the winter blues. Winterizing your vehicle is vital to you and your family’s safety which cannot be compromised. Make sure you follow these five tips to prepare your vehicle for the winter months ahead.
Hassanein Alwan is the Marketing Director of Mineral Circles Bearings with more than 10 years’ experience in the bearing industry’s technical support division, sales and marketing, plus strategic business development consultancy.
With a degree of Master of Science in Engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and an International Diploma in Business from the University of Cambridge, he started his career in Sweden as a Machine Safety engineer for Gröna Lund and as SAAB Aerosystems’ Aeronautical engineer. Today, he serves as a member of the Know Your Market Committee after joining EPTDA in 2013.