Cooler temperatures have officially arrived, and they’re only getting colder. While we love sweater weather and curling up under blankets as much as the next person, we don’t love what the cold weather does to our cars. It’s such a hassle when you leave your house in a rush in the morning only to find that your car is crusted over with a thin layer of ice! The first frosts of the year have already started rolling in—have you taken the right steps to prepare your car?
Tune It Up
Cold weather can exacerbate any existing mechanical issues your car may be experiencing, so taking it to the shop before the weather gets too cold can help you nip those problems in the bud. Plus, they can help you check off a lot of other items on this list if you don’t happen to be car-savvy!
Check Your Fluids
What would we do in cold weather without antifreeze? It keeps your engine from freezing, after all, so it’s important to check the levels before things start to get super chilly. You can also change to a winter windshield wiper fluid, which is specifically designed to avoid freezing on your windshield and can actually help loosen ice and frost that’s already formed.
Snag Yourself an Ice Scraper
If you don’t have time to warm up your car before jetting off in the morning, sitting and waiting for the defrost to clear your windshield is probably out of the question. In that case, you’ll need a good ice scraper to clear any frost or ice that has accumulated overnight; you can’t drive if you can’t see, after all!
Get a Windshield Cover
An even better step than winter wiper fluid or an ice scraper is purchasing a cover for your windshield. Simply attach it to your car once you’re home for the night, then remove it (and any frost or ice) in the morning for a crystal-clear windshield. Just don’t forget to shake it off before throwing it in the car or things might get a little soggy!
Test Your Tires
It goes without saying that your tires are crucial to keeping you safely on the road. Cold air can affect your tire pressure, so be sure to check it and refill if necessary. If you don’t have your own gauge, a lot of gas station air pumps have them. Be sure to follow your vehicles guidelines properly when refilling (check the sticker with your VIN number on it for correct PSI in cold weather).
Make a Cold Weather Emergency Kit
Being in an accident or becoming stranded are bad enough situations on their own, but they can be even more miserable if they happen in the cold. Pack yourself an emergency kit that stays in your car so you’re prepared in the event of a cold-weather accident: extra blankets, gloves, socks, and matches are all great items to have in your trunk if the worst should happen.
Cold weather can be tough on you and your car. But by taking steps to prepare for it, and by practicing continued maintenance and upkeep on your vehicle, you can make sure that you’re more than ready when the first frost hits your area!