Five Tips To Prevent Winter Car Problems
Car problems are never fun but they’re especially a headache in the middle of winter. If you’ve ever been stuck with a dead battery in a snowstorm, like I have, then you know exactly what I mean. Get a jump on Old Man Winter raising havoc with your car.
While car problems can’t always be prevented, there are some things you should do to keep your car prepared for winter’s worst. These five tips are courtesy of AAA‘s Car and Travel Magazine.
1. Have an emergency kit. I do and you should too. Keep it in your car at all times so you can always rely on it being there should you need it. What should it include? A blanket, gloves, a small shovel, gloves, jumper cables, a can of Fix-a-Flat, a flashlight, a bag of sand, a battery powered charger for you cell phone and an icescraper/snow brush.
2. Winter tires. According to AAA, snow tires aren’t just needed for snowy weather. They’re also helpful when the temps regularly falls below 40, which happens often during Central New York winters. Don’t settle for just two snow tires. Your best bet if four good snow tires and keep an eye on tire pressure too. Check it every couple of weeks.
3. Take car of your car’s exterior and interior. Mix your windshield wiper fluid with deicer. Replace windshield wipers every six months. Wash off that snow, road salt and ice. Pay special attention to the undercarriage and chassis. To prevent doors from freezing shut (that’s happened to me one too many times) wipe the door seals with a coat of silicone. Put heavy duty floors mats in the car so you don’t ruin the carpet with snow and ice.
4. Keep the gas and cooling systems flowing. My Dad always told me to do this and I’ve been faithful to it for years. Keep your gas tank at least half full during winter. That will prevent the gas lines from freezing. When was the last time you replaced antifreeze? It should be every couple of years unless your owner’s manual says otherwise.
5. Avoid a dead battery. AAA recommends replacing a car battery every three or four years. Make sure you don’t have a weak car battery. Get it checked and if you need a new one, buy it. Shut off your car’s accessories before starting your car to save battery power.