Considering just last week we were talking about how to take your pets on a summer road trip, it seems wrong to already start talking about winter. However, now is actually the best time to perform a few basic maintenance tasks on our vehicles to get them prepared for the coming winter months.
After all, while a breakdown isn’t fun regardless of the time of year, suffering mechanical maladies during winter makes things exponentially more unpleasant.
Replace Your Floor Mats
Nobody likes dirty carpets, so keep the flooring in your vehicle clean by swapping in some winter floor mats. Their thick rubber construction and deep grooves keep the mud and slush from staining your carpets. Just ensure that your winter floor mats are designed to fit your vehicle to prevent your accelerator or brakes from getting caught on the mats.
Nobody plans on getting stuck out in the cold, but nevertheless it can happen to any of us. Be prepared by packing a winter emergency kit with some warm blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, some non-perishable snacks, a small shovel and tool kit, jumper cables, and some heating packs or extra clothes for warmth. It may seem like overkill, but as a wise-man once said: it is better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
In the winter months your wiper blades get a serious workout. Between the freezing cold and perpetual dirt and grime of the road, wear-and-tear on your wipers increases exponentially. So make sure your wipers are in good condition before the cold sets in, and replace them if necessary. It’s also a good idea to top up your wiper fluid with a blend that won’t freeze in the cold of winter.
Check Your Battery
Like your wipers, your battery also gets worked much harder in the winter. The cold climate of winter tends to drain batteries, plus your engine requires more juice to start when cold. These two factors come together to send many batteries to their graves during the winter months. So if your battery is older, have it checked at your local garage to ensure it’s still holding enough charge to get you through the winter. If not, it’s probably time to have it replaced.
Replace Your Oil & Oil Filter
Oil is the life-blood of your engine, and it needs to be fresh and clean to work properly. In the winter, the cold weather makes your vehicle’s oil thicker and more viscous, which places an increased strain on your engine when starting. New oil stays runnier when cold, making it easier for your engine to start; old oil on the other hand, gets thicker when cold, making it harder for your engine to start.
Check Your Defrosters and Heaters
It goes without saying that your vehicle’s defrosters and heaters are crucial for driving in the winter months. It’s best to check them now, before you need to rely on them, so if they’re malfunctioning you can have them fixed. It’s also a good idea to check your vehicle’s coolant system, which despite its name, helps keeps your engine performing properly in the winter. A 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water will keep your motor running strong all winter long.
Invest in Winter Tires
Tires are possibly the most important part of your vehicle, as they dictate how your car stops, steers, and accelerates. Good winter tires maintain your vehicle’s ability to perform all of these crucial actions even in the bitter cold. If you’ve already invested in a set of winter rubber it’s still a good idea to check them to ensure they still have enough tread left, and that they haven’t deteriorated during storage.
Most of us don’t like to think about it, but the simple fact is that winter is coming whether we want it or not. So follow our simple checklist now to prepare your car for the coming winter months, and you’ll be thanking yourself all winter long as your vehicle cruises effortlessly though the snow and cold.