Get your vehicle ready for winter
Though vehicle care is important year-round for the safety of you and your family and to preserve the value of your car, truck or SUV, the months of winter can be particularly brutal. We may just be going into fall, but it’s never too early to prepare your vehicle for the first frost and snow. Here are suggestions from AAA to ensure your vehicle in its best condition for winter:
- Test antifreeze strength. A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water protects down to –35 C. All fluid levels should be checked and replenished as necessary.
- Test the battery and charging system. You want to make sure that while you’re on the road, they function properly in low and sub-zero temperatures.
- Test your ignition system. Get an electronic diagnostic check, which is also an effective way to gauge overall engine performance.
- Switch wiper blades. Winter wiper blades help with visibility in snowy conditions, especially if coupled with washer fluid that’s effective for temperatures down to –40 C.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times. Cold weather causes condensation in the system, which can result in fuel-line freeze-up. Adding gasoline antifreeze every three to four fill-ups can keep condensation under control.
- Remove excess snow from the car before driving. Any snow left on the roof might slide down onto the windshield and obstruct vision.
- Let your car idle for 45 seconds to a minute. Though most modern cars are built to move from the start, allowing the engine to warm up means the defroster will start working to keep the windows fog-free.
- Make routine checks. Ensure all lights work, keep headlamps clean and change the wiper blades if they streak.
- Carry an emergency kit. Stock it with kitty litter or traction mats, a small shovel, windshield-washer fluid, an ice scraper and snow brush, a flashlight, flares, booster cables, a dry cloth, a blanket, extra clothing and energy bars.