With winter on the way, it is the perfect time to prepare your vehicle for the rough and rugged colder months. Here are 7 tips to keep your ride road-ready:
Make sure you have proper inflation according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Once you are sure you are at the correct psi for each tire, check the tread on your tires using “the penny test.” Place a penny head-first into the tread on several spots on your tire. If you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head, you’re good. If you can see it, you may need to take your vehicle in for new, safe tires with good tread for this winter.
Without even looking at your brake pads, you can get a feel (or sound) for if your brakes need to be replaced. Listen and feel for grinding or squeaking when you apply pressure to the pedal. You may also notice the vehicle requires more time and space to safely stop. If this is the case, roll on into your favorite mechanic’s garage as soon as possible.
Seasonal changes in temps can highlight a dying battery. If your battery is taking longer to start your car, especially in the colder weather, or if there is corrosion on the battery posts, swing by an auto parts store for a battery test so that you aren’t left stranded in the cold.
Winter tends to mean longer periods of darkness for many of us, so check all exterior lights. Functional headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights are a must in the winter months which usually carry low visibility.
Check all fluid levels- engine oil, transmission, windshield washer, coolant, brakes, power steering. It is okay to “top it off” occasionally when fluids are low, but eventually, fluids need to be flushed out before new is added. Windshield washer fluid can also be replaced with one that contains de-icer, and graphite lubricant added to the door lock cylinders can keep the locks from freezing. When the cold and ice strike, rest assured you’ll be ready.
Inspect your wiper blades for wear and tear. Wipe the blade with a clean cloth, and run a quick trial of the washer fluid to see if the blades smoothly glide across your windshield without any, or much, interference. If there are loud squeaks and obnoxious streaks, it may be time for a new set.
Beyond the store-bought kit, you can also make your own that is season-specific. Grab a small bag and stuff it with items to keep you safe, warm, and hydrated if stranded. In your trunk or behind a seat near the kit, keep a small shovel and some cat litter to help you get out when stuck. Depending on your “prepper-level,” you can really prepare for the road’s worst with an extra ice-scraper, phone charger, flashlights, snacks, crank radio, roadside flares, etc., so get carried away! Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Auto Insurance Checkup
Your brakes and tires are not the only things that need a checkup every winter. Before the cold hits, it’s a good idea to check in with your insurance agent and ensure that your auto coverage is doing everything it can to protect you this winter. Give your local agent a call today to make sure your car is protected.