With the winter season upon us, it’s vital to ensure that your vehicle is prepped and ready for the extreme conditions that winter brings with it. Between cold temperatures and road-salt, the aftermath of the season can be destructive to your vehicle’s interior and exterior, particularly if you don’t take preemptive measures. Before temperatures start to drop and snow begins to fly, we’ve detailed a complete list of actions to take to get your car into working winter order.
1. Regularly check tire pressure
While you should regularly check your tire pressure, this simple task becomes much more critical when temperatures fluctuate. For every 10℉ drop, tire pressure drops by 1 psi, which means that you should be checking your tire pressure more frequently during the winter months. While newer cars carry sensors that inform the driver to tire pressure issues, older cars are not equipped to do so, leaving you to drive with flat tires if you’re not mindful. Once a week, while you’re scraping off your windshield, also take a look at your tires to make sure that they’re ready to go too.
2. Swap in snow tires
If you live in a location where it snows a ton or winter gets cold, you should consider swapping out your summer or all-season tires for winters; In some places, habitants can even face a fine for not doing so. Beyond fines and penalties, the science also backs the investment in snow tires. When the temperature maintains around the freezing mark, the rubber compounds in summer tires stiffen, causing tires to no longer grip the road effectively.
Even if you have all-wheel drive, your handling is greatly improved with a set of winters underneath you. If you’ve ever experienced a foot of snow, you know exactly how big of a difference this can make.
3. Monitor and swap our wiper blades
Keeping your wiper blades in top shape will make sure that visibility during winter months remains optimal. While wiper blades should be changed no less than once a year, there are a few giveaways when they should be replaced immediately. If you notice a scratching noise or streaking on your windshield while they’re in use, they should be changed immediately. Upon inspection, you may see cracks along the rubber or a great deal of stiffness; if this is the case, they should also be replaced.
A few tips may also keep your wipers lasting longer through the winter. Don’t use your wipers to clear snow or ice from the windshield; opt for a brush or scraper instead. Significant pressure can damage the motor. On nights with impending inclement weather, try to keep wiper blades lifted to make clearing your car in the morning easier.
4. Keep extra stock of windshield washer fluid.
In winter months, there seems to be no amount of windshield washer fluid to great. There’s nothing worse than being mid-drive with a streaky windshield, losing visibility only to find that you’re out of fluid. Before starting a long drive, make sure that you top up your windshield washer fluid and regularly check, even if you’re only commuting to and from work. You should always carry an extra jug of liquid gold in your trunk in case you’re nowhere close to a gas station when you do need to top up.
5. Keep an emergency kit on hand
If the unexpected occurs, it’s a good idea to be prepared with an emergency kit, especially if you travel longer distances. If you’re on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, temperatures can drop quicker than you would expect. Be prepared and pack the following:
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Phone charger
- Ice scraper
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tire inflator
- Tire patch kit
6. Keep your battery in good health
In the year where almost everyone’s commute has changed and the overall amount of driving has decreased, you may want to focus a bit more on your vehicle’s battery, especially as winter hits. When the temperature hits zero batteries, lose half of their starting power, and if you’re not driving as much as you used to, it may not be fully recharging when you do go out. Try to drive your vehicle regularly to prevent damage to the battery. While every make and model is different, you’ll have to do a little research for your specific situation; Raven can keep an eye on your voltage, which can help you monitor your battery’s level.
If you have installed a Raven into your vehicle, the smart power management within the device shuts down at 11.9 volts and will send a notification of a low battery your way. If you’ve been driving less this year, it might also be worth reaching out to our support team to increase the shutdown point. As every vehicle has a different battery threshold, Raven’s shutdown is a standard level, but another voltage may be optimal for your vehicle’s make and model.
7. Prevent freezing in locks
When water gets into your vehicle’s locks and freezes, it can be a real pain to get going in the morning. Prevent freezing by lubricating locks before icy winter conditions. Sometimes this lubricant isn’t enough, and your locks may freeze; when this happens, use a lock antifreeze solution to loosen them up.
8. Allow your engine time to warm up
While cars aren’t built like they used to be, many will argue that because of the revolutionary fuel-injected engine, there’s no need to let your vehicle warm up as getting it moving will warm it up quicker. And while these things may be true, we still think that providing your vehicle with a few minutes to warm up even has its benefit in modern-day.
While leaving your car to warm up for about 30 seconds can transform your thick-as-mud oil to thin itself out, there are additional benefits to components beyond the engine. Every rubber and plastic component on a cold day is still frozen stiff, and fluids are highly viscous. Just like it takes you or me a few extra minutes to get going on freezing mornings, your car could use the same.
9. Keep your gas tank half full
Whenever you’re out in your vehicle, keep an eye on the gas range before you head home. Keeping the tank at least half full can prevent gas lines from freezing up. If you end up stuck somewhere, you’ll be thankful for that full tank of gas keeping you warm until help makes its way to you.
10. Drive according to conditions
Last, but most importantly, drive according to the conditions. Take your time and slow down in inclement weather. Your safety is much more important than anything else. Leave lots of time and if you’re running behind, let’s be honest, your speed won’t give you much time anyway.