How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

The coming of winter brings hazards for drivers. Snow and ice make the roads slippery, while winter storms reduce visibility. Cold temperatures and winter weather put more strain on your vehicle. Winter can negatively impact your tires, brakes, battery, and other vehicle parts.

It’s important to plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is in good shape before winter. Our Birmingham car accident lawyers at Hare Wynn are sharing tips on how to prepare your car for winter.

Check Your Tires

The pressure in your tires goes down along with the temperature. Tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature. Low tire pressure can be dangerous on winter roads.

It’s essential to have your tires properly inflated. Also, be sure to inspect your tires for tread wear and rotate them during every oil change.

You can check tread wear using the “penny test”. You do this by taking a penny and placing it in the tread groove of your tire. Place the penny with Lincoln’s head facing you, and stick the penny in the tread so that the top of Lincoln’s head is no longer visible. If his entire head is visible while in the groove, it’s time to replace your tires.

Have Your Brakes Serviced

Snow, ice, slush on the roads can contribute to rust on rotors, putting added stress on your brakes. Business Insider recommends having your brakes inspected and serviced at the start of winter and possibly again mid-season.

Get Oil and Antifreeze Changed

Regular maintenance helps prevent car trouble during the winter. You may also need to switch to a winter-grade oil, according to Popular Mechanics.

Your engine’s oil becomes thinner as the temperature rises, so in warmer climates, a thicker, higher-viscosity oil will help keep your engine properly lubricated. For the same reason, heavier oils aren’t as effective in cold, blustery conditions.

Check the owner’s manual and ask a mechanic if you’re not sure whether you need winter-grade oil.

Have a Mechanic Look Under the Hood

Your vehicle’s battery capacity weakens in cold weather. Have a professional inspect your battery’s fluid and cables and ensure it’s charged.

You should also have your mechanic look at your vehicle’s hoses to make sure that the rubber is in good shape.

Check Your Wipers and Wiper Fluid

Windshield wipers are always exposed to the elements, so it’s crucial to replace worn or dried-out wiper blades regularly to maintain visibility, especially if a snowstorm is headed your way.

It’s recommended you keep the level on your windshield washer reservoir full during the cold months. A full reservoir means you can keep your windshield clear, even on the snowiest day.

Make Sure Lights Are Working

It’s important to make sure headlights are in working order. This is something you should do continuously throughout the year. In winter, snowstorms and sleet can reduce visibility.

You should also clean the lenses of your exterior lights and replace any burnt-out bulbs.

Make Sure The Heat Works

You don’t want to be stuck in your car without heat. So make sure the heating system is in working order before the colder months arrive.

Keep Your Tank as Full as Possible

Business Insider explains that empty space in your gas tank allows moisture to build up, and this can dilute the fuel and cause stress on the car’s pumps and other parts. Damage can be more serious if the built-up moisture freezes.

The more gas in the tank, the less water can build up. You should keep your tank more than half-full at all times. If a car is seldom driven during winter, you should keep the tank full.

Prepare a Winter Emergency Kit

Experts recommend keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. It’s a smart idea to have a special winter emergency kit or add items to your emergency kit that could be handy in cold or snowy weather.

Allstate suggests including a shovel, gloves, boots, an ice scraper, and sand or kitty litter (for traction on slippery roads) in your winter safety kit.

About Hare Wynn

Our tips will help you prepare your car for winter and reduce the chances of an accident, but you can’t control the behavior of other drivers. Our Birmingham car accident attorneys can help if you or a loved one is hurt in a wreck caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions.

For more than 130 years, Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton has been helping individuals and families fight for their rights after someone else’s negligence caused harm and losses. We have recovered over two billion dollars on behalf of our clients.

Contact us by calling 800-568-5330 or using our online contact form to schedule a free case review.

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