Since winter is just around the corner, it might be a good time to prepare your vehicle and be aware of the adjustments you need to make to your driving style to navigate adverse weather conditions.
If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate where snow is not an issue, you are a lucky person and you will not have to deal with the intimidating experience of driving through a winter storm.
On the other hand, if you live in an area where winters are tough and you get a fair share of snowfall, it is crucial for your safety and that of the passages to be prepared.
Before it gets cold and the snow starts to fall, we would recommend that you visit your dealership or a local mechanic for a thorough inspection of your vehicle. You do not want it to break down in the middle of nowhere when it is extremely cold and snowy.
Another thing you should consider is changing your tires if they are not suited for winter driving. Some countries have laws that require vehicles to be equipped with winter or all-season tires for the cold season.
If you own a set of these, check the tread for signs of wear and make sure they have the recommended pressure, which is usually inscribed on one of the front door interior frames or in the vehicle’s booklet. It would not hurt to have a set of snow chains in the trunk either.
After you make sure that the rubber is in order, check the coolant level and the last time it was changed. Cooling fluid usually keeps its antifreeze properties for about two years.
Also, check the battery, which tends to discharge faster in the cold. You can use a multimeter to measure the voltage of the battery, which should show a value between 12.40 volts and 12.75 volts. If it falls below that, replace the battery.
Next in line should be the wipers, which will come in handy when the snow starts to fall. Make a habit of replacing the wiper blades every year in the fall, so that you have new wipers when they are needed the most.
Besides that, you should check the wiper fluid level, especially before a long drive. Most people have no idea that special, winter fluid is available and has antifreeze and deicing properties.
It is very important to replace your fluid with one of these, as traditional summer fluids will freeze over, damaging your washer pump and connecting hoses.
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle as it may come in handy. It should at least include a flashlight, jumper cables, a bag of salt, a small shovel, and a scraper or deicing spray.
Finally, check the vehicle’s exterior lights. This includes headlights, taillights, turn signals, and hazard lights. They all must work to maximize visibility for both yourself and other drivers. We also recommend keeping some extra bulbs in the trunk, just in case.
If you will be driving for long distances, it would be a good idea to plan your journey thoroughly. Check the weather, road conditions, available gas or charging stations, and accommodation along the route you are planning to take.
Make sure to respect road signs, speed limits, and avoid any sudden acceleration or braking, especially on icy roads. It is always also essential to keep the vehicle’s stability control function enabled, so it aids traction.