Summer is officially over, and in comes fall and winter. When temperatures plunge and conditions are inclement, it takes some extra effort to get a head start on the day, making that morning coffee especially necessary.
The family car has a similar reaction when things get frigid. Granted, vehicles don’t have the automotive equivalent of a cup of java. However, in order for it to remain alert to the hazards of winter, it will need some sustenance, giving it the “jolt” it needs to stay strong.
The following are a few ways you can effectively winterize your car to neutralize the season’s harsh effects:
Ensure health of car’s battery
The battery is the nerve center of the car. Without its energy, a car is nothing more than a hunk of metal. Unfortunately, cold weather – particularly temperatures in the single-digits and below – can reduce the strength and capacity of a battery’s life cycle. Be sure your battery is fully charged before January and February, usually the coldest months of the year. If your battery is three years old or older, you may want to have it replaced, as this is usually how long batteries last before they need to be swapped out.
Replace windshield wipers
Thanks to sand and road salt, roads are made safer when conditions are slippery. All that dirt and debris, though, can wind up on your windshield, kicked up by fellow motorists’ tires. Even with windshield washer liquid, that can be a problem if the wipers are damaged from overuse. If your wiper blades leave streaking, they need to be replaced. Exchange them for a new pair so poor visibility is less of a problem when snow is in the forecast.
Keep gas tank full
During the summer, you may be able to get away with not filling up the tank until there’s quarter of a tank left or so. But it’s not worth risking in the winter. A nearly empty tank produces added moisture, which under cold temperatures can cause the tank to freeze. Avoid this by keeping the tank at least half full throughout the season. This will also help keep the engine running – and you warm – in an emergency situation.
Keep an eye on tires inflation level
After the “Deflategate” saga unfolded for the New England Patriots, most people have heard of the noble gas law, which centers on how air pressure is affected by temperature. In short, under cold conditions, air contracts, producing a deflating effect when air is bottled up. Be sure to check your tires on a regular basis, as they can deflate more easily. Underinflated tires increases the risk of an accident and makes the ride less smooth.
The winter is a good time of year to review your auto insurance policy. Make sure you’re appropriately covered by speaking with an Elephant agent so you can avoid a slippery situation. Looking for more ways to prep your car for winter? Make sure to check out Elephant’s Winter Driving guides and videos.