The New England winter has officially arrived. Readying your car for winter weather is essential, as cold temps make it difficult for engines to work properly, snow limits tire traction, and salt causes rust and gravel pits on the exterior paint. You may think you've been through this so many times that you're prepared - but there are so many aspects to winterizing your car that it's easy to forget something crucial to your safety.
We've compiled a list of things you should check and re-check every year at this time:
Place snow tires on your vehicle
Braking, accelerating and handling are tough to do with worn or high performance tires on slippery roads. Snow tires will increase traction and reduce your chances of slipping on slick surfaces.
Check your tire pressure
Properly inflated tires ensure the best possible connection between your vehicle and the road, especially in slick conditions. Cold temperatures cause tire air pressure to drop since gases contract when they're cold.
Make sure you have enough gas
Always keep at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle at all times during the winter. Always fill the gasoline tank before a long trip. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
Check your four-wheel drive system for malfunctions
Check that your system engages and disengages properly and does not make any unusual noises when you start it. Also, check the gear oil levels and transmission.
Change the oil in your engine and check the viscosity grade
Viscosity of oil - how thick it is - will change depending on its temperature. The colder oil is, the thicker it will become. As a result, thick oil does not circulate through an engine as easily as thinner oil during start-up. To reduce the risk of problems with your engine oil, place thinner oil in your engine.
Have belts and hoses inspected
Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, and other needed parts, repairs and replacements.
Inspect wipers and refill wiper fluid
You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly during a snowstorm. Be sure to completely fill your vehicle's reservoir before the first snow hits and use high-quality, "no-freeze" fluid. Make sure your windshield wipers work and replace worn blades. Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers.
Check your car battery
Extreme temperatures can cause your vehicle's battery to operate at less than 50 percent. If your battery is over three years old, have it tested.
Check the antifreeze mixture
The ideal mixture of antifreeze and water in your radiator is 50:50. If this ratio is off, your vehicle will not perform as well.
Place a roadside emergency supply kit in your car
Keep winter car supplies in your car at all times to assist you in case of an emergency. Supplies include:
- Jumper cables
- Two or more blankets
- Snow shovel and ice scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Extra winter clothing: cap, mittens, parka and boots in case you have to walk for help
- High calorie, non-perishable food like candy and canned nuts
- Necessary medication
- Sand or strips or carpet for traction
- Extra windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze
- Flares or reflectors
The winter may be hard on you: from dry skin to brittle hair to increased risk of colds and the flu. It is also hard on your vehicle. Take the necessary steps to protect your car against the cold to ensure that it will last the entire season long!
Remember... we do more than to help you avoid claims and arrive at your destination safely. Contact us today to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home and life! 800-333-7234 // easterninsurance.com.