The winter season is no joke for your vehicle. It’s a harsh time of year, and your car needs more TLC to make it through the season unscathed. For instance, your paint job can be damaged by the elements. Defensive driving takes on a whole new meaning in wintertime as well. Road conditions make driving slow and tedious. Meanwhile, road salt is also a challenge all its own.
Winter is as rough on cars as it is on people. Here are some tips for getting your car ready for the winter.
1. Check Your Car’s Warranty
This is a good time to check if your car is still under warranty. Often your vehicle will come with a factory or dealership warranty that expires after a certain number of years or a certain number of miles. Once that warranty expires, you can get an extended warranty to cover all those unexpected repairs.
Extended warranties aren’t for everyone, so do your research carefully. You don’t want to end up throwing money away on something you never use. If you anticipate more than the average maintenance for your car, however, or you’ll be driving a sports car or luxury car this winter, it’s never a bad idea to get several quotes for extended warranties.
You might find that an extended warranty is a better way to pay for car repairs. These Endurance warranty reviews can help you decide which warranty is right for you.
2. Have Some Insurance in Place
If your car’s insurance is close to expiring, it might be a good time to start shopping for new insurance quotes. To find the best car insurance, you should shop around at least every six months or when your policy expires.
Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, quotes cost nothing and keep the industry competitive. Car insurance companies are always changing their prices and discounts, so you never know what you may be eligible for.
Make sure you know what your car’s insurance covers and what you are responsible for. Just like with an extended warranty, insurance is not the answer to everything. If you do have an accident, make sure you know where to take your car for the fastest, cheapest, and best service.
3. Winterize Your Tires
Winterizing your tires is another way to protect your car during the winter. Depending on where you live, this may already be part of your winter maintenance. Even if it is, you should check what condition your tires are in.
Check your tire pressure and make sure you are equalized on all four corners. Consider buying new tires, even if you live in a moderate climate. If you live in harsh winter conditions, in temperatures that drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider changing to winter tires, which have a softer compound and deliver more grip than regular tires.
Even if you live in well-maintained areas, winter tires can make the difference in slushy, icy, and snowy conditions.
4. Keep Up with Regular Maintenance
Keeping your car’s fluids topped off and sticking to your regular maintenance schedule will also help your car through the winter. Washer fluid is especially important going into the winter months since it can keep your car’s windshield clean and clear even in snowy conditions. Special winter fluid is available if you live in a harsher climate. Experts suggest keeping an extra bottle in your trunk for extra-harsh conditions or emergencies.
Speaking of your windshield, make sure the wipers are in good condition. Regularly rinse the snow and road salt off your car and run it through a car wash at least weekly. Keep a scraper and an emergency kit, including a blanket and hand warmers, in your vehicle for the inclement months. Don’t forget your oil changes and other regular maintenance. Keeping your car running well is the best defense against winter weather.
5. Drive More Carefully
It may seem like a no-brainer but driving carefully is the best way to protect your car through the winter. No amount of maintenance or precautions with your engine will make up for reckless driving especially on snow and ice.
Stay at a safe speed and remember your car’s braking abilities are significantly reduced on slick surfaces. Stay well back from cars in front of you and use your flashers in bad conditions where it is hard to see.
Here are some things to avoid while driving during the winter.
- Driving through puddles. You never know what’s lurking under the water that can tear up your tires or worse.
- Driving in deep snow. Not only could you get stuck, but you may also hit something under the snow and damage your car. Finally, snow and road salt may get into areas impossible to get to.
- Parking on the street. Your car could sustain damage from snowplows, sprayed salt, and other passing cars.
Conclusion: Now’s the Best Time to Get Your Car Ready for Winter
It’s never too early to make sure that your car’s ready for the winter months. Protecting your car during the winter is part of responsible car ownership and maintenance. This is especially true if you live in areas that experience harsher winters. Taking care of your car during the cold winter months can mean the difference in how long it lasts.