The days are getting shorter and it’s time to get your car or truck winter-ready. The last thing you want is to be left in the cold while out on the roads. Experts offer these tips for getting your vehicle ready to prevent major headaches later on.
Here's what you can do:
1. Make sure you have a heavy-duty ice scraper and snow brush in your vehicle.
2. Cold weather reduces tire pressure, so check tire pressure
3. In severe winter temperatures, you may have to change the grade of your engine oil
. Check your vehicle's Owner's Manual for the viscosity grade recommended for your vehicle's engine.
4. Check your wiper blades. Cold temperatures can make blades brittle, and ice on the windshield can cause nicks in the blades, decreasing performance.
5. If you're planning a trip, take a blanket, extra-warm clothing, a collapsible shovel, a bag of road salt and an extra bottle of windshield washer fluid.
6. Put on snow tires if you live in major snow belt areas.
7. Take care of your windshield: Make sure your vehicle has antifreeze rated for the coldest weather. It's also a smart idea to replace your windshield wipers every year before winter begins or purchase winter rated windshield wipers.
8. Lights On - In rainy or snowy weather, turn on your headlamps and tail lamps. Even if your visibility is good, other drivers will have a better view of your vehicle in their rear view mirrors.
9. Snow on the Roof: If you live in a snow belt, don't let snow pile up on top of your car or truck. Peaks of snow increase drag and decrease gas mileage. Also, don't let snow pile up in the bed of your pickup. It can cause an obstruction of your view and the view of other drivers.
10. Battery efficiency: Most cold-weather breakdowns occur because batteries aren't delivering full cranking power. Get your battery checked and make sure battery cables are corrosion-free.
11. All-season vs. winter tires: Although all-season tires can be used in a moderate winter environment, winter tires provide the best cold weather performance below 7°C. This includes wet and dry in addition to snow/ice/slush surfaces where greater tread flexibility leads to better grip.
12. Loss of Pressure: Tires will lose pressure when the temperature gets colder. The general rule provided by tire manufacturers is 7kpa or 1psi drop for every 5 degree Celsius or Fahrenheit change, so measuring tire pressures year-round is vital.