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Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter Season

Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter Season
AutoGearhead: The changing of the seasons is a great time to check out what your car needs to gear up for cold, wet, winter driving conditions. During winter season, make sure your car is prepared well. Get your vehicle ready for winter and learning what it takes to drive safely through ice and snow could save your life. In this article, I'll tell you what your car needs to make it through winter and what to pack before you take a winter road trip.

To help ensure both you and your car stay out of harm’s way this winter, here are few simple tips could keep your car running all winter long.

Get your car serviced
The peace of mind a professional check could offer is well worth paying for. Therefore before the winter weather gets any worse, it’s a good idea to book your car into a garage and have it looked over by a mechanic. Fixing any mechanical problems now will hopefully reduce the risk you will break down at a later date. 

Lubricate door locks
Lubricate the door and trunk locks, as well as the hood locking mechanism so they won't freeze. It's also a good idea to lubricate hinges of the hood, doors and the trunk. Clean and lubricate the door rails if your vehicle has sliding doors.

Wipers, windshield washer fluid
Windshield wipers are very critical to winter driving; consider installing winter wipers. Make sure you replace summer washer fluid with special winter windshield washer fluid that won't freeze. If the washer jets don't spray properly, clean and adjust them. Good visibility is important - don't forget to clean your windshield and other windows from inside as well.

Battery Check
Mostly, there is no way to tell when the battery will decide to quit - sometimes it happens unexpectedly with no prior signs. However, if you feel that cranking speed is slower than before, the battery is probably close to its end. Have your battery tested, especially if it is more than 2-3 years old. A dead battery is one of the most common causes for a no-start during winter. Make sure the battery terminals are tight and not corroded. Corroded terminals will cause troubles.

Corroded terminals
Winter tires
Consider installing good-quality winter tires. Winter tires are specifically designed to improve traction on snow-covered or icy roads. Many dealerships will store your off-season tires if you purchase tires with them. There may be a small fee, but it's worth it for the convenience.
If you have alloy wheels, especially those with wide performance tires, consider purchasing winter tires pre-installed on steel rims instead of changing tires only - it's easy to damage alloy rims during winter and they are usually not repairable. There is less labour involved in changing tires that are already installed on the rims, so the charge is usually less. Winter tires need to be installed on all four wheels. Don't skimp on safety.
While winter tires have better traction on winter roads than all-season tires, they are not foolproof; drive carefully in winter conditions. Winter tires wear faster on dry roads in warm weather; don't forget to remove them when the winter season is over.

Pump up your winter tires
Don't forget to use your winter tires. To help lower the risk of skidding, check both your car's tire condition and pressure are correct before you drive. The current legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but during the winter months it is a sensible idea to ensure your tyres have at least 3mm of tread depth.
This should also help increase your car's fuel efficiency and lower your petrol costs as you won’t have to put your foot down as hard on the accelerator.

Look after your lights
Dark mornings and dark evenings can make driving extremely dangerous. It is therefore crucial to ensure all your lights are clean and working properly. Always replace any broken bulbs immediately. If you don't, you will not only find it difficult to see the road clearly, you run the risk of not being seen by other drivers. Make sure you know where your front and back fog lights are.

Fill up your fuel
Before you hit the road, make sure you have sufficient fuel in the tank. This also will reduce condensation, making your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings.The last thing you want in the cold weather is to run out of petrol and be stuck on the side of the road somewhere.
It is also important to check you have the right level of oil in your car, and top it up if it gets too low.

Ensure you can see
Winter weather can make it more difficult to see clearly when you are driving. To help lower the risk of having an accident always make sure the windscreen is clean and clear, you have plenty of screenwash and your wiper blades are in good condition. If your windows are covered in frost, make sure you de-ice them before driving and don’t forget to clear your mirrors too.
When you're warming up your car, never leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked. You only need to turn your back for a second and an opportunist thief could jump in and drive off.

Drive safely
Finally, make sure you take extra care on the roads. Allow more time for journeys and try to avoid rushing. Keep a safe distance from the car in front, and leave more time to brake and accelerate in wet or icy conditions. If there is snow and ice on the roads, use high gears to reduce the need for sudden deceleration or acceleration. And in the fog watch your speed as fog can give the impression of slow motion in oncoming traffic.
If you can it's a good idea to avoid driving in the dark and bad weather altogether as the number of accidents increase during these conditions. Wherever possible try to use major routes which have been gritted or salted. Be aware that not everyone on the road will be experienced in driving in these types of conditions so remain alert at all times.

A winter accident could leave you stuck on the side of the road. Packing your car with a few essentials will help keep you safe and ready for whatever conditions pop up on your trip. It is a sensible idea to put together an emergency winter survival kit so that you are prepared should you break down or have an accident. Remember to include a torch, warm clothes, blankets, food, ice scraper and a first aid kit. Here are tips for packing Your Car during Winter TripsIt's also important to always carry a fully charged mobile phone and the number of your car breakdown service with you so that you can call for help should you need it. A car charger for the phone is also a smart device to keep in the car.
Be prepared for an emergency. Store a kit of emergency items in your trunk.
  1. Always store a snow/ice scraper and a shovel in your vehicle. A first aid kit is another must-have item to keep on hand. It should include all the usual items plus winter extras like flashlights, a fresh supply of batteries, blankets, matches, extra clothes, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Peanuts and granola bars are good protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods.
  2. For rear-wheel drive vehicles, you might want to keep a small bag of sand in your trunk to create traction under the tires if you get stuck. The bulk of a vehicle's weight is the engine, in the front of the car. If the car is driven by it's rear wheels instead of its front wheels, the heavy front end and light back end makes the car prone to slide around an ice- or snow-covered road.

Tod Pritchard from ReadyWisconsin gives a quick lesson on what to include in a winter survival kit for your car.

samarins.com, auto.howstuffworks.com, independent.co.uk

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1 comment:

  1. During winter, we have found several kinds of minor or major problems in our cars. Mostly battery and starting problems; so to deal with these problems, we should take the help of professional and repair center. I hope from here we can get some beneficial solution.


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