Driving a car in winter can be a little stressful. The weather is unpredictable, and so are the road conditions. But it doesn’t have to be! Driving around in winter can be fun and stress-free when you do the necessary preparations. If you want to winterize your car, keep reading!
Check Your Tires
Winter has some unique challenges for your tires. There will be snow, ice, and mud on the roads. If you own a car, you know how quickly situations can change in the winter. So, before winter truly comes, you need to check your tires and consider changing them if necessary. If you need some pointers, keep reading!
Check Tire Tread Wear and Depth
Checking if you have enough tread to grip the road is always a good idea. However, it is especially important for the winter months. If you want to check the tread depth, perform a penny test.
Doing a penny test is relatively easy. You just take a penny from your pocket and place it with Lincoln’s head upside down in the threads. You are good to go if a part of Lincoln’s head is covered. If you can see his entire head, you might need some new tires.
You also need the check the tread wear. Inspect every side of each tire, and if you see uneven wear, you might have issues with your tire pressure, wheel alignment, and suspensions.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Regularly checking your tire pressure is always a good idea if you want to be safe. This statement is especially true in the winter. With cold temperatures, the air in your tires becomes denser, and your tires will lose more pressure when compared to warmer months. You can lose over 10 PSI of tire pressure during winter. So, you need to check your tire pressure regularly.
Lower pressure sometimes helps with traction, but not in the winter months. In fact, if you have underinflated tires, you might be more susceptible to aquaplaning.
The same goes for overinflating a tire. You have a smaller contact with the road if you have overinflated tires. So, you must ensure your tire pressures are between 30 to 35 PSI.
Consider Getting Winter Tires
If you are expecting heavy snowfall, keeping a set of tire chains in the car is a good idea, especially if you use all-season tires. However, having a set of winter tires is also a good idea. If you live in a colder environment where the weather regularly drops below 55 F, winter tires will give you much better traction on dry surfaces and improve your grip on ice and snow.
Check and Change Your Fluids
A vehicle has many moving parts that need fluids to ensure they work properly. Checking and changing each fluid is vital in the winter, as the lower temperature will change the properties of said fluids.
As you know, you should regularly change your engine oil. But you might not have to change the type of oil you use during the winter, as dual-grade oils are an industry standard.
If you have a car, you probably know that all manufacturers use the same system to categorize their oils. That system is oil weight. For example, 5W-10 engine oil means that that oil’s viscosity is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a W because that’s your oil’s winter rating. The second number is for when your engine gets up the temperature.
Check your owner’s manual and use the oil weight that the manufacturer recommends.
Antifreeze is used in the cooling system of your vehicle. It will drop the freezing point of the liquid in your cooling system to ensure you don’t have any damage. Frozen water expands and will crack hoses, radiators and damage water pumps. Thankfully, most engine coolants come with antifreeze already mixed in them. Check with your mechanic to choose the right type of coolant and closely monitor it.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Windshield washer fluids are essential for road safety, and it is especially important for winter. Changing your washer fluid with one formulated for winter will do most of the hard work for you.
These fluids will melt the ice and snow, and when used in conjunction with winter wiper blades, you won’t need to manually remove the ice during cold winter mornings.
Do Some Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is important in having the safest vehicle possible, regardless of the season. Be that as it may, it is especially important for winter. You should check your car battery, brakes, and transmission to ensure your car is ready for the winter.
Check Your Car Battery and Battery Terminals
A bad car battery can lead to a whole slew of issues, and if you want to learn more, you can read our in-depth article about it. However, checking your car battery before winter is important because if it dies in winter, it can leave you stranded.
You should check your battery for its condition, and check things like your car’s starter and alternator to ensure it can use and recharge the battery.
While you are there, clean the battery posts and terminals because corrosion and poor conductivity can cause hard starts and prevent your battery from correctly charging.
Lubricate Seals, Doors, Locks, Latches, and Hinges
In winter, the weather gets cold, and most seals shrink and crack. Lube also prevents doors from freezing. Also, unlubed parts can rust and can’t perform their functions. That’s why you need to lube them with proper products for winter.
- Spray silicone or dry teflon for window tracks,
- Spray silicone for weather stripping,
- Graphite lubricant for locks and,
- Lithium grease for latches and hinges.
Check Your Heating System
Check if your car’s heater works properly or not before winter. While it is not necessary to have a working heater, it will improve your comfort during long drives and can save your life if you get stranded in the winter.
Check Your Brakes and Transmission
Checking the brakes and transmission is extremely important, but ensuring they are in tip-top shape during winter will make your life much easier.
Brake discs and pads are consumables and need to be regularly changed. Also, you need to make sure the brake fluids are good. After you ensure everything is good, you also need to ensure your brake lines aren’t corroded or leaking.
Transmission is a little different. Believe it or not, transmission fluids need to be changed. However, changing the transmission fluid is an involved process for most cars and should be done by a professional.
Make a Winter Emergency Kit
Weather is very unpredictable in winter, and even if you do all the checks before hitting the road, you still end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, so having food, water, extra clothes, blankets, and portable chargers at all times is a very good idea.
The Most Underrated Performance Upgrade Can Help You in Winter
While most people buy a throttle response controller to improve their acceleration, Pedal Commander’s ECO mode can help you get out of sticky situations in the winter months. With ECO mode, you will eliminate unwanted wheel spin and drive around safely in snow, sludge, ice, and mud! If you want to learn more about Pedal Commander, click here!