Old Man Winter arrives every year, but careful preparation beforehand can help you avoid automobile-related cold weather issues and hazards. While it is always important to keep your vehicle well-maintained, that is never more true than in winter.
Basic Winter Maintenance
When the air turns cooler, it’s time for your annual pre-winter car maintenance. That includes:
- Radiator system servicing
- Checking antifreeze levels
- Replacing standard windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix
- Checking wiper blades and replacing them if needed
- Replacing worn tires and ensuring that all tires are properly inflated
- Making sure all fluids are at correct levels
- Putting winter weight oil in the engine, generally 5W-30
Before bringing your vehicle in for servicing, check to make sure the heater and defroster are in good working order, and have your mechanic attend to them if there is a problem.
Check the Brakes
Have your brakes thoroughly examined. Good brakes can save your life, especially on icy or snowy roads. When all four wheels brake evenly, a vehicle is less likely to skid on a slippery surface.
Check for Leaks
There are two major areas of your car that should be checked for leaks. The first is the exhaust system. If your car leaks carbon monoxide, that deadly gas could kill everyone in a closed vehicle, as it builds up quite quickly and has no odor. The second area in which to check for leaks includes all hoses carrying antifreeze.
Keep the Tank Full
Avoid letting your fuel gauge approach “E.” That is not only to prevent the classic scenario of running out of gas on a cold, lonely road at night, but also to keep ice from forming in the fuel lines or the tank itself. Top off your tank regularly and keep it as full as possible.
Winter Emergency Kit
Keep a winter emergency kit in your trunk just in case you experience a worst-case driving scenario and get stuck in snow or extremely cold temperatures. For starters, your kit should include an alternative heat source. A multiple wick candle can heater, along with matches for lighting it in the event a lighter fails to work in subzero weather is recommended. Keep extra batteries and a flashlight and radio in the kit as well. A whistle, flares and bright orange or red cloth can aid in signaling help. Do not forget blankets and/or winter coats, hats, long underwear and gloves. Plastic cups, toilet tissue, dehydrated food and a container for water may also come in handy in an emergency. You can melt snow to create drinking water, if necessary.
Perhaps the most important safety device is the one you probably carry with you all of the time – your cell phone. Keep it charged to ensure it does not fail you when you need it most.
The Hope Law Firm – Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
If you are involved in any type of auto accident, we can help. Our experienced, knowledgeable legal team has successfully represented countless clients in accident cases. The best way to avoid serious injury or death in an auto accident is to always drive defensively, avoid driving in adverse weather when possible, and prepare your car for travel and winter weather. If despite your efforts, an accident still occurs, contact the Hope Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.