Winter Car Safety

 

Many of us spend the necessary time to winterize our homes and outdoor landscapes, but we fail to give our cars the same attention. But, your vehicle needs protection too. Think about how much time you spend in the car each day. With all the traveling you do, especially with other people and pets, it’s critical that your car is well-cared for and prepared for the winter season.


Below are smart winter car safety tips from SaferCar.gov.


Get Your Car Serviced


Have your vehicle serviced at the start of the winter season by your local car dealership. A technician will check the car for leaks, worn hoses and other necessary parts, replacements and repairs. You’ll be starting the season off right, and a service check will prepare your car for the other months of the year.


Check the Battery


When the temperature drops, so does your battery power. It takes more battery power to start your vehicle in the winter, so it’s important to make sure the battery is up for the challenge. Have a mechanic check the battery for sufficient voltage, and have the charging belts and system inspected. Simple repairs such as tightening the cable connections can offer a longer life for your battery. Finally, keep fresh gasoline in the car to support the battery.


Check the Coolant System


Coolant expands with the colder temperatures, and this can damage your car’s engine block. Prevent this by keeping enough coolant in the vehicle that is designed for winter weather. Check your vehicle’s owner manual for suggestions on the best coolant to use. Now may also be a good time to have your coolant system flushed by a mechanic.


Check the Wipers and Defrosters


Inspect the windshield wipers and replace worn blades. You may want to invest in a sturdy set of windshield wipers if your area sees a lot of snow and ice. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with fresh, high-quality, no freeze fluid, and store extra in the car in case you need it.


Inspect Your Tires


If you plan on using snow tires, have them installed at the start of the season. All-season tires are fine on a year-round basis; just make sure that they are in good condition and have a lot of tread left. Also, the rubber should be in good condition and the tires should stay inflated properly. Take a few minutes to inspect your tires monthly. They wear quickly and need to replaced regularly, even when they’re not used often.


Stock the Vehicle


Keep the vehicle stocked year-round, particularly in the winter. A first aid emergency kit is an essential item to have in the car, but also consider winter-specific items such as a snowbrush and ice scraper, blankets, traction material such as kitty litter and warning devices such as flares. It’s also important to know what to do in a winter emergency. The best tips are to stay with your car and leave it running for short periods of time with the windows cracked open to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.


Categories: People