Through our many years of awarding over 5000 free donated vehicles to families in need of reliable transportation; 1-800-Charity Cars understands firsthand the importance of having a dependable vehicle, especially during the winter time. We would like to offer some tips on how to winterize your car and prepare you for harsh winter driving conditions.
Check your coolant system
Have your system flushed, checked for leaks and replenish your anti-freeze. Having the correct ratio of water to anti-freeze is essential to avoiding issues with your vehicle.
Inspect those belts and hoses
A vehicle’s belts and hoses that are cracked, frayed, or worn in any way will not hold up long when the temperature drops. Avoid being stranded on the side of the road in the cold by replacing belts and hoses that are in poor condition.
Give the tires an inspection
Make sure your tires have plenty of tread, the correct air pressure and have them rotated. Don’t forget the spare tire and make sure it is up to par and that you have the necessary tools to perform a tire change, if necessary.
Make sure your battery is in good health
The cold weather can stress your vehicle and make your battery work very hard. Make sure your battery is functioning correctly. You can get free battery checks at many auto repair and auto parts locations.
Don’t forget the basics! Regular maintenance of your vehicle should be performed routinely according to you owner manual; especially as the weather conditions change. Check all your vehicle’s fluids, filters, lights, windshield wipers and heater/ac.
Taking care of your car can help ensure that you are not left stranded in the cold or without transportation due to serious damage or mechanical failures.
Last but certainly not the least important step in how to winterize your car, be sure to prepare yourself for harsh weather conditions by traveling in your car with handy tools and a roadside emergency kit in case you experience vehicle failure.
Some of the other things you will want to have in your vehicle include:
- An ice scraper, to keep your windows clear of snow and ice.
- Jumper cables, in case your battery needs a boost.
- Small bag of sand or cat litter, to provide some traction should your car get stuck in a patch of snow or ice.
- A flashlight is always a great tool to have on hand in your vehicle and will come in handy during the nighttime. Be sure to also keep an extra set of batteries for your flashlight on hand as well.
- A First aid kit is a must have in the event that you or your passengers sustain injuries. This will allow you to render aide until help can reach you.
- A can of fix a flat can be a life saver to get you further down the road. This will allow you to attend to a flat tire safely since changing a tire on the side of the road or highway can be very dangerous.
- Depending on the particular weather conditions where you reside, a set of tire chains can be of great assistance in extreme snow and ice conditions.
- Blankets can help keep you warm while you wait for help in case you are stuck in a car where you are not able to run your heat.
- Road flares can be of great help if you get stuck in an area that is off road or secluded and you need to signal for help.
- Keep an extra cell phone battery as a backup and make sure it is charged in case yours gives out.
- Keep a bag of snacks and bottles of water in case you are stranded for a long time.
Taking time to make preparations and maintenance will keep your vehicle running smoothly while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and car. It will also ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers alike. If you enjoyed reading this article on how to winterize your car, don’t forget to check our tips on preparing your car for summer.