Winter is here. Is your car ready for the hazardous driving conditions that it brings? Now’s the time to get your vehicle in tip-top shape and make sure it can brave the harsh wintry elements.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, bad weather—excessive fog, rain, ice and snow, contributes to nearly half a million crashes and more than two thousand road deaths every winter.
Here are some tips to help prepare your car for winter and make driving much easier and safer.
- READ YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL— Ensure your vehicle is up-to-date on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and service schedule.
- CHECK YOUR FLUIDS—Although this should be part of your regular vehicle maintenance, it’s also a good idea to check/top off or change the oil, brake, antifreeze, power steering, and transmission fluids.
- BRAKE IT DOWN—Are your brake pads worn? If so, don’t wait to get them checked. Have your brakes inspected for wear according to the manufacturer’s service intervals and specifications by a licensed automotive repair dealer.
- SLOW YOUR ROLL—Nothing will give you more peace of mind while driving on slick winter roads than having good quality tires on your vehicle. Ensure they are properly inflated, rotated, and check for excessive tread wear. Consider winter/all-season tires for extra traction or bring snow chains with you if there is a chance of encountering snowy or icy road conditions.
- CHECK YOUR HEATER AND DEFROSTER—With the weather so frightful, keeping warm will feel delightful providing your heater is working properly. Plus, if your defroster is operable it will keep your windshield clear and enhance your visibility.
- LIGHTS—Test your car’s interior and exterior lights, including your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals, to make sure they work.
- CLEAN AND TREAT YOUR DOORS—Cold weather can sometimes make car doors stick. As a preventative measure, you can purchase an oil lubricant and rub around the door edges as well as the hood and trunk too.
- CHANGE YOUR WIPER BLADES– The sizzling summer sun can wreak havoc on wiper blades and cause them to split and crack. It’s a good idea to replace your wiper blades regularly for optimal performance.
- GET A VEHICLE SAFETY KIT–Most auto parts and hardware stores have winter emergency safety kits. They usually contain jumper cables, orange cones, emergency blankets, bungee cord/zip ties, gloves, a small scraper, a multi-tool, cloths, flares and more.
Remember, it’s important to keep your car in excellent condition year-round. But, if you aren’t a do-it-yourself-type of person, take your vehicle to a trusted and licensed automotive repair dealer to have it fully inspected. To check the license of an automotive repair dealer, visit the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s website at www.bar.ca.gov.