How to maintain your car: Winter edition
With winter approaching, remember that snow, ice and below freezing temperatures all effect driving conditions. During these colder months, safety depends on good vehicle maintenance and common sense. These tips will help you and your car weather the winter.
Accelerating, stopping and turning all take longer on snow-covered or icy roads. Leave more distance than usual between your vehicle and the one just ahead of you?to give yourself at least 10 seconds to come to a complete stop. Know your route and be especially alert?to avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes, which might cause collisions with cars when the roads are slippery.
Make sure your battery is charged and you have a full tank.
Cold weather adversely affects battery performance, so check it before the temperature drops. Stormy weather or traffic delays may force you to change routes or turn back. A fuller tank will also prevent your car’s fuel line from freezing.
Change your oil filter and maybe your oil.
The oil in your car thickens in cold weather and (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle) a thinner grade of oil will help your car run more smoothly in the winter.
Keep windshield and windows clear.
Keep a scraper in your vehicle at all times. Your car’s defroster can be supplemented by wiping the windows with a clean cloth to improve visibility. Make sure your wiper fluid contains anti-freeze so the spray doesn’t freeze up in cold weather.
Make sure that your tires have good tread and are properly inflated.
Your tires are essential to safe winter driving and while all-weather tires are sufficient for some, if the conditions in your area tend towards snow and ice, consider investing in snow tires.
Monitor the weather conditions before beginning your trip.
Not just at your departure point but also at your destination, if it seems like the roads will be too hazardous, say if a flood is expected anywhere on your route, change your travel plans.
Sometimes, despite best efforts, you’ll find yourself driving in severe weather conditions. In that case, stay tuned to weather reports and weather-related accidents?on your radio or Sat Nav. Change your route, where possible, to avoid the worst of the storm. Don’t try to drive your way out of it.?It’s better to seek shelter for yourself and your car and wait for the storm to pass. Follow these tips to keep you safe on the road this winter.