It’s peak season for skiing, and for some, that means heading out for a trip on wintery roads. Do you know how to prepare for winter driving? Don’t let your vacation be ruined by car problems, instead use these winter car care tips for winter driving to get your car ready for cold weather and snowy roads.
If you’re like me and you live in a moderate climate, you might not even be thinking about antifreeze levels. It’s an important fluid that helps keep your car mechanics running when temperatures drop, especially in freezing conditions.
You can check your antifreeze levels yourself, or head to your car shop and ask them to check your fluid levels.
Check Tire Pressure
When temperatures get really cold the air inside of your tires can contract which makes your tire pressure drop. Before heading out on your trip, or before returning home from a wintery spot, be sure to check your tire pressure.
You might also want to consider changing to winter tires if you’re planning to do a lot of winter driving. They offer more traction that all-season tires. If you are driving with all-season tires, make sure they’re in good condition with plenty of life left in the treads.
Get an Oil Change
If you learned about viscosity at all in school, here’s a bit of a refresher on that lesson. Colder temperatures can cause liquids to thicken, including oil. Change your oil before winter driving so that you’re driving with the correct formula and your car can keep running optimally.
Wash and Wax
If you’re driving on winter roads, you’ll probably be driving in a lot of ice, salt, sand, and slush. A fresh coat of wax can help protect your car from these damaging elements. And a wash that includes cleaning the underbelly of the car can help protect against rust, which helps maintain the overall value of your car.
A car wash can also do wonders for cleaning off windshields, mirrors, and lights. You want these clean and fully operational for the best driving vision.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Driving in snow and slush can throw a lot of grime on your windshield, so new wipers are needed for safe driving vision. If you’re also faced with driving during snow, rain, or sleet conditions, you want new wipers to help keep the windshield clear in bad weather conditions.
It’s also a good idea to get a de-icing windshield washing fluid for your car versus a standard fluid.
Pack an Emergency Winter Car Kit
If something bad does happen with your car during cold weather conditions, you need to be prepared. Packing a travel emergency kit will help you be prepared for emergency situations. Check out my winter car packing list.
Your kit should include essential items like gloves, ice scraper, shovel, salt/sand/kitty litter, warm clothing & blanket, jumper cables (or portable car jumper), emergency signals (flares/road flags), and a first-aid kit. You can buy an emergency car kit or create your own.
You should also have water and food provisions packed.
Keep Your Gas Tank Filled
Finally, you’ll want to keep an eye on your gas tank while driving this winter. Growing up in Kansas I learned that once you hit half a tank it’s time to go fill up. If you do get stuck, you’ll want to know that you can keep your heater running while you wait for assistance.
Taking a bit of time to prep your car for your winter travel can go a long way towards helping keep your whole family safe on the trip. Better to over-prepare and not need it than to need it and wish you would have made the effort!