Preparing Your Car for Winter

Preparing Your Car for Winter

Winter is a rough time on your car. Luckily, that car protects you. It keeps you warm and gets you where you need to be – unless it breaks down. There are ways that you can prepare your car for the worst that winter throws at you.

Do these things and your car is much more likely to make it through without a problem. Even if a problem does arrive, there are still preparations you can make to ensure you get through it safely:

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter in Asheville, NC

  1. Check your engine coolant levels.

Antifreeze does just what its name implies. It keeps your engine from freezing. This is vital during the winter. If your engine freezes, you'll end up stranded. Follow your car's manual to figure out how to check your engine coolant levels. It's very easy to do. If you need to add more, this is simple too. Just follow those instructions.

Your coolant mixture uses antifreeze and water. Most auto supply stores will sell a kit that can help you check this mix and make sure it has enough antifreeze in it.

  1. Will your tires make it?

Bad tires will slip and slide on snowy and icy surfaces. You want to make sure your tires still have good tread on them.

Start by checking your tire pressure. Auto supply stores sell gauges that help you do this, or you can use an air machine at a gas station. If your tires are below your car manual's recommendation, add air until they're at the right pressure.

Next, check the tread on your tires. This might be the only thing pennies are still good for. Take a penny. Insert it into a tread of each tire. The penny should be facing you, with President Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, the tread is too shallow and your tires need replacement.

  1. Use winter-grade oil.

Thinner oil works better in the winter. It's best to consult a mechanic about this first, but choosing a thinner oil can help your engine make it through the winter well. You may swap out 10W-30 oil for 5W-30, for instance. The number in front indicates oil viscosity. Lower means better viscosity for winter.

It's not a must, but it can help. At the very least, ensure that your oil changes are up to date. If one's coming up, it's often better to get it done before the worst weather, when it's less of a chore to go out than the middle of winter.

  1. Use winter wiper fluid.

As cars drive through snow and sleet, it gets dirty. That slush covers your windshield. You need strong wiper fluid to successfully get it off. If your car's performing perfectly, but you can't see out the windshield on the highway, you're not going anywhere.

Winter wiper fluid has a much lower freezing point than regular fluid. It will be more effective when your wipers are clearing, snow, mud, and sleet from your vision.

  1. Have an emergency supply kit.

Even the best-maintained car has a chance of breaking down in a harsh winter. That's just the reality of the season. You can do everything right to minimize that chance, but it's best to be on the safe side.

Because of this, put together an emergency kit to help you in case your car does break down and you become stranded. This kit should have extra warm clothes, gloves, blankets, and a first aid kit. It should also have a flashlight, extra batteries, and road flares. Add a radio – preferably wind-up or battery operated. Add a few high-protein snacks to it – ones that will keep in the car throughout winter, like nuts, jerky, or protein bars. You can also store an extra, charged cell phone with this kit. Many old cell phones can still call 911 even if they no longer have service.

Always drive with an ice-scraper. In the wrong conditions, you can go into a store for five minutes and suddenly find yourself unable to see through an iced-up windshield without one.

Make sure you also leave home with your own cell phone reasonably charged. This ensures you can still get help in most areas.

Another good idea is to drive with a bag of sand in the back for extra traction.

  1. Repair Dings and Dents 

If winter driving results in dings and dents, give us a call. Repairing them now saves you money and keeps your vehicle from developing troublesome rust come spring.

Are you ready for winter? Contact us for more information about vehicle body repair.