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Believe it or not, winter is upon us! We’ve recently shared some tips with you to prepare your home for the colder weather as well as a list of things you can do to get ready for a safe and stress-free holiday season. But what about your car? The lower temperatures, snow, and salt that come with this time of year can be hard on your vehicle – but knowing how to prepare your car for colder weather can make a big difference. 

Keep reading to find out how you can prepare your car for optimal performance and longevity this winter. 

Make sure your tires are ready for the weather conditions

Your tires will make a big difference when it comes to safety and performance during the winter season. First, keep up with regular tire maintenance: get the tires rotated at every oil change, and be sure to check the tread. You can do this using a penny and placing it in the groove of your tire with Lincoln’s head facing you. Stick the penny in the tread so that the top of his head is not visible. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, you should go ahead and replace your tires. 

Next, keep your tires filled up, as low air pressure in them can be dangerous. If you know how to do it, you can check your tire pressure at a local gas station or car shop. If not, take your car to a mechanic and they can check for you. 

Lastly, consider snow tires, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and has rough terrain. They can make a big difference when driving in hazardous conditions as they add traction for baking, steering and overall stability – but remember, snow tires lower the miles per gallon you’ll get, so use them only in the harshest months of winter if possible. Also make sure you replace all four tires, as replacing only two can cause unequal traction. 

Use the right engine oil and coolant 

As we head into winter, keep in mind that certain liquids don’t agree with below-freezing temperatures. Check your vehicle’s owner manual for specifics on both engine oil and engine coolant. Typically, a thinner engine oil is needed when temperatures dip below freezing. 

An engine coolant with ethylene glycol is recommended to prevent corrosion and overheating, but your manual or a specialist will be able to advise you on the recommended coolant-to-water ratio for your specific type of vehicle.

Protect against the effects of road salt

Driving on treated roads during the winter means your car will be coming into contact with road salt, which can cause rust on the body and undercarriage of the vehicle. Washing your vehicle regularly is the best way to protect against damage from road salt. Before it snows, make sure to wash your vehicle, wax it, and apply a wax sealant. Sealing it prevents rust from getting in the brake and fuel lines. You can do this yourself or have a professional do it for you. 

Be prepared 

It’s always important to keep your vehicle maintenance up to date and an emergency kit in your car, but these precautions become even more important during colder weather. Avoid driving without a working heater and make sure your defroster is in good condition before it gets too cold. Test your windshield wipers for proper functionality as well.  

Lastly, make sure your auto insurance policy is up to date and has the necessary coverage. While taking the precautions we’ve listed is a good step toward avoiding accidents and emergencies, you need to be prepared if such a situation arises. Fill out the form below to get a free consultation and find out if your current policy needs an upgrade. 

Happy Holidays! Be safe out there!

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Author Tim Bauer

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