Winter Safety Maintenance Tips for Cars
Winter safety maintenance is a important part of driving during the stormy seasons. There’s probably no worse or more dangerous time of the year to drive than in winter. You can avoid many car-related cold weather issues by keeping your vehicle well-maintained, and having some basic winter service performed before the temperatures truly plunge. The colder your climate, the more important this safety maintenance becomes.
Basic Winter Maintenance
Have your annual pre-winter car maintenance performed in fall, before winter actually sets in. You can check to make sure your heater and defroster are working. Tell your mechanic and have them fixed if there are issues. The only thing worse than getting stuck in subfreezing weather in your car is getting stuck in a vehicle with no heat. Other basic winter vehicle maintenance includes servicing the radiator system. Checking the antifreeze levels. Putting a wintertime mix in the windshield wiper fluid. Making sure wiper blades are checked and replaced, if necessary. Last checking that all tires are correctly filled, and replacing worn tires. Ensuring all fluids are at proper levels and using winter weight oil in the engine, usually 5W-30.
Winter safety maintenance and a Thorough Brake Inspection
Always have the mechanic thoroughly inspect your brakes during winter maintenance. The condition of your brakes any time of the year can literally be a matter of life or death, but winter brings special considerations. Your car is less likely to skid on any icy or snowy road if all four of the wheels brake evenly.
Leaks Can Kill
Winter safety maintenance means you should focus on two primary areas of your automobile should be checked for leaks. The first is the exhaust system. A carbon monoxide leak from the exhaust system could kill everyone in a closed car, as this odorless and deadly gas builds up rapidly. Also check for leaks in any hoses carrying antifreeze.
Keeping the Gas Gauge on F
Keep your gas tank full, topping it off regularly. That not only ensures you won’t run out of gas in the middle of nowhere on a freezing night, but a full tank helps stop ice forming in the tank or its fuel lines.
Special Winter Emergency Kit
You may already have a general emergency kit in your car, but you need some additional materials in case of a winter breakdown. Winter necessities include blankets, warm jackets or coats, gloves, hats and thermal underwear. You’ll also need an alternative heat source for a worst-case scenario, such as a multiple wick candle can heater. Keep matches with the heater in case a lighter won’t work in subfreezing temperatures.
Your standard emergency kit should contain a flashlight and a radio, and check these items periodically to make sure they are working and keep plenty of extra batteries on hand. Your kit should also include flares and a whistle for signaling purposes. As always, keep your cell phone charged. Keep dehydrated food, plastic cups and toilet paper in the kit, as well as drinking water. If you’re really stranded, you can melt snow with your heater for drinking water.
Getting stuck in wintry weather is a frightening experience, and isn’t always avoidable. Improve the odds that you, your loved ones and your vehicle will safely make it to your intended destination without mishap by keeping your car well-maintained and a well-stocked emergency kit on hand. So you can focus on the most important thing .. Having fun!