As the snow starts to fall and the roads start to ice over, you may be looking for ways to stay safe while driving this winter. For most drivers, this means warming up their car for 10 minutes before going to work, or taking the scenic route to avoid heavy highway traffic. In this article, we’re going to discuss what you can do to your car to stay safe and warm this winter.
Make Sure Your Car’s Lights Are Working Properly
One of the biggest winter hazards is driving after the sun sets. Since the sun sets earlier during the winter months, there is less daylight for you to enjoy on your commute home from the office. This means that it gets significantly darker earlier, which can be bad news if you have trouble seeing in the dark. For this reason, you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure your car’s lights are properly working and illuminating. If one of your taillights has gone out, bring your car to the closest repair shop to have the broken light replaced. If your headlights don’t work as well as they used to or appear foggy when turned on, you may want to consider replacing them.
Ensure You Have Coolant Or Antifreeze
While it may sound odd that the coolant in your car is important to its winter performance, this unique fluid is important because it can prevent your car’s engine from freezing during the winter. Not only that, but it also helps to lubricate the moving parts inside of your vehicle. Most professional mechanics recommend using a 50/50 mix of coolant and water in your car’s radiator, because this can result in a lower engine freezing point.
Keep Your Car’s Battery In Tip-Top Shape
You likely already know that your car’s battery is critical to its operation, but did you know that the cold, Colorado winter can have a negative effect on it as well? It’s more difficult for your vehicle’s battery to operate in cold weather than it is for it to operate in a warm climate. If your battery is on its last leg over the summer, you’ll want to have it checked before the winter arrives to make sure it can stand up to the elements.
Check The Health Of Your Tires
Most people who live in Colorado have a set of winter tires for their car, since the roads tend to get icy and slippery after snow falls. If you don’t have a set of winter tires for your vehicle, this is something you will want to consider, unless you like the idea of spinning out in the snow unexpectedly. If you own winter tires that are in good shape, make sure they are properly inflated as the temperature starts to drop.
Keep The Gas Tank Half Full (At Least)
During frigid, winter months, it’s important to remember to keep your gas tank at least half full. A full gas tank can help to prevent water from accumulating and eventually freezing inside of your fuel pump. Also, in the unfortunate event that you become stranded, you’ll be thankful you have a full gas tank to keep you warm until a tow truck or family member can save you.
Make Sure Your Car’s Defroster Is Working
Your car’s window defroster can be a lifesaver in the winter. As its name suggests, this component will help to keep your windows from fogging up when the temperature inside and outside of your car changes.
Check Your Wiper Blades
The wiper blades on your car are great for whisking away condensation, rain, and snow. However, over time, your car’s wiper blades can crack and split, resulting in blades that don’t get the job done well. As you can imagine, this is the last thing you’ll want to deal with on a cold and icy day. That’s why we recommend changing your wiper blades before winter to help winterize your car.
Have A Mechanic Inspect Your Four-Wheel Drive
If you own a car that has four-wheel drive, you can probably get around in the winter without much trouble. This type of drive mode offers your vehicle much better traction on snowy and icy roads (as long as it is working correctly). If you haven’t had your four-wheel drive checked by a professional mechanic, you may want to schedule an appointment before the snow starts to fall. A mechanic can ensure that your car’s system is running smoothly, ensuring that you are safe on the road this winter.
Change Your Car’s Oil
Did you know that the cold, Colorado weather can have a negative effect on your car’s oil? Heavier oils are known to thicken at lower temperatures, meaning they will not lubricate your car as well as it should. If your engine doesn’t get the lubrication it needs to function, you could be left with a car that refuses to start. To avoid this common winter car issue, change your car’s oil to one that is thinner. If you’re not sure what oil to buy, your owner’s manual may recommend the best oil for your car’s make and model.
Invest In Some Sand Bags
If you own a truck or car with rear-wheel drive, you may find yourself slipping and sliding on the road this winter. To help keep this from happening, consider investing in some sand bags that you can keep in the back of your vehicle. This will help to distribute more weight over your car’s wheels, which will help give you more traction when you’re driving down a snowy highway in the middle of the night.
Slow Down & Keep Your Distance
While there are many things you can do to your vehicle to prepare for the winter weather, the most important thing to do on the road is to stay alert. Take extra precaution to the drivers around you, and avoid sudden stops when possible. Keep cautious as you cross over bridges and ramps, as these roadways tend to freeze first when the temperature drops.