Winter Car Maintenance Essentials

Published: February 22, 2024

Driving on snowy and wet roads during harrowing conditions can take a massive toll on your car. But there’s nothing a little planning and maintenance can’t cure! 

The Sacramento car accident attorneys at Rosenthal Law Firm delve into the top ways to ensure your car is safe to thrive this winter. Let’s get started:

Inspect Your Battery 

The harsh winter wind and icy roads can affect your battery’s performance. A weak or faulty battery may allow you to travel a few miles but will likely cause vehicle breakdowns. 

So, before going on a long journey, test your battery strength to ensure it’s working appropriately. However, if your car is three to five years old, it might be time for a replacement, or your engine might die in the middle of nowhere!

Clean Your Car’s Lights

It’s no secret that your car gets dirty and clogged in the winter season. So, ensure you keep the headlamps clean by using built-in washers or a dry cloth.

If you do allow the snow and ice to settle on your lights, you’ll lose luminosity faster, particularly on damp, freezing roads. Besides this, clean your license plate, or you’ll face a hefty fine for driving with an unreadable registration number. 

Don’t Gamble on Fuel 

Whether you’re commuting to work or prepping for a road trip, check your fuel tank before driving. Ensure you have enough fuel to last your trip or take you to a nearby petrol station.

With snowy and wet roads affecting your car’s performance, you’ll need to keep your gas tank full, or you might face engine overheating and failure.  

Up Your Winter Tires Game

Wintertime calls for properly inflated and treaded tires. Driving around with worn-out tires can be hazardous for yourself and other drivers. So, check their pressure, wear and tear, and inflation, and replace them if necessary.

In addition, you can winterize your vehicle to survive snowstorms and icy conditions by installing 3mm tread depth tires. That way, you can mitigate the risk of losing control of your car and crashing. Furthermore, ensure you have a roadworthy spare and snow chains. 

Revamp Your Oil-Changing Habit

As the temperature drops, the oil inside your car starts to thicken. So, consider using a thinner solution that is ideal for cold weather conditions.

Moreover, read your owner’s manual to determine the best practices for changing the oil and filter, how to top up your coolant, and recommended temperature ranges. 

Keep a Winter Driving Kit 

Driving in the winter season can be scary, particularly if you reside in northern areas. Packing a winter driving kit ensures you don’t get stranded on the side of the road! 

Prepare your kit by adding a small folding shovel, tow chains, and a bag of salt (cat litter) to survive any hazardous weather conditions. What’s more, you should keep a whistle, jumper cables, extra antifreeze, and essential tools to help you get back on the road in no time!

Test Your Spark Plugs

Spark plugs tend to wear out faster during the winter season. Inspect them before the temperature drops to ensure it does not affect your vehicle’s efficiency.

Moreover, test if your spark plugs feature a heat range that is compatible with the engine, or you might face mechanical damage. You can take your car to a nearby station for a checkup or use a manual tester to determine performance.

Stay Updated with Your Insurance

Repairing weather-related damages can eat up your wallet! The best way to mitigate financial losses is to ensure you have valid car insurance. You can consult a professional insurer to find a policy that suits your needs and budget.

Check the Performance of Your Brakes

Ensure your brakes are in top-notch condition to stay safe while on the road. If you notice squealing or other strange noises, get them checked.Furthermore, check your car’s discs, calipers, antifreeze, and handbrake to ensure they have not frozen up.

Throw on an Extra Floor Mat

Show your car some TLC and keep yourself warm by adding a top-notch floor in front of the driver’s seat. Consider installing a mat designed to withstand wear and tear and minimize salt stains.  Moreover, dry out your floor mat to maintain its quality!

When it comes to winter driving, nothing can be more helpful than planning and preparation. But with slippery roads and snowstorms, car accidents can occur without warning. Ensure you stay safe during the cold, harsh weather by incorporating these maintenance tips into your to-do list.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
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