In some places of the world winter means nothing more than a slight breeze and bringing along a thin jacket when you leave the house. In other places it means plugging your car in at night to make sure your entire engine doesn’t freeze due to extreme cold. Most of the world lies somewhere in between. Winter means colder temperatures, freezing nights, precipitation and lots of layers. We tend to stay indoors more, simply out of protection for our tender skin. It’s warm, comfortable and safe. We do less, but somehow winter requires more of us. Whether it’s your house, driveway, boat or car - winterizing the important things in your life can take some time, but it’s well worth it to protect your possessions.
Your car is a good place to start, because once the snow and ice begins you will be glad your car is ready! Here’s a list of ways to cold-weather-proof your vehicle:
- Get yourself a Brush/Scraper! - The day it snows 3 inches on your car is not the day to discover that you don’t have a brush or ice scraper in your trunk. If you live somewhere with a lot of snow invest in a nice one that’s easy to find and use.
- Check or Replace your wiper blades - you don’t want to be going 80 mph down the freeway when the snow starts falling and realize that your wiper blades aren’t displacing the water from your windshield. That’s dangerous! Wiper blades are relatively cheap and definitely worth it to keep your windshield clear and safe.
- Top off Wiper Fluid - Trust us. You’ll be cleaning off that windshield a lot, and having plenty of fluid to clear off that splattered mud slush will be a good idea.
- Love your Tread - make sure that your tires are in good shape with plenty of tread. Thin and balding tires will slide all over wet and icy roads. It could be a matter of life and death. Put on your snow tires or go get a new set to make sure you have good traction this winter.
- Prep for On the Go Tire Checks - get a tire gauge so you can check your pressure when it’s really cold out. Now would also be a good time to make sure your spare is full of air and locate nearby free air pumps.
- Flush & Replace Coolant - coolant doesn’t just cool. It’s antifreeze! Flush out your existing mixture and replace it with new coolant - a 50/50 antifreeze/water mixture is best.
- Check your Battery - your car’s battery power can be decreased up to 50% by cold temperatures. Make sure you have jumper cables just in case, and if you have any battery issues now might be a good time to replace it.
- Pack an Emergency Kit - let’s say the unthinkable DOES happen and your car is broken down or stuck somewhere in harsh winter conditions. Do you have what you need in your car? Most people probably don’t. Make sure you have essentials like jumper cables, flares, clean water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, and non-perishable snacks.
- Swing by your Auto Shop - If your car is due for an oil change - get one. If not, it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic check in on your engine to ensure that everything is running right.
- Gas up! - Keeping a full tank of gas not only keeps you less likely to be stranded, but it also means added weight to decrease sliding on the road. In addition, your fuel lines will stay lubricated and full, decreasing the risk of freezing. Consider using a fuel additive like Boost Performance Products during the winter months. A fuel additive can increase fuel efficiency (meaning you fill up less frequently and your full tank lasts longer) as well as lubricate your engine to decrease cold damage and freezing. Fuel additives are an inexpensive, easy way to give your engine a little extra love this winter season.