It’s that time of year again: winter weather and road trips are upon us. The holiday season is one of the busiest times on the road and all the snow, ice, and wind don’t make matters any easier. While you may plan on doing plenty of driving, it’s easy to overlook your car’s maintenance needs. Our heads are filled with thoughts of family, friends, gifts, and parties so getting the oil checked takes a backseat. But it’s crucial for your car’s health and your safety to ensure your car is ready for harsh weather and long miles. It only takes a little preparation to get to all your holiday festivities safely.
Here are 4 tips to get your car winter and road trip ready:
Winter Car Kit
If you know you’ll be driving through icy or snowy conditions, you’ll want to pack up a few extra items in case of emergency. In fact, it’s a good idea to put together a winter car kit and just leave it in your trunk all season. A few essentials include:
- Flashlight with batteries
- Extra clothing/blankets
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire
- Small shovel
2. Check Tires
Before you hit the road, make sure your tires have sufficient tread. Patches of snow and the ever-sneaky black ice can turn the road into a skating rink if your tires are smooth. It’s also important to pay attention to your tire pressure as it too helps your car grip the road . For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tires lose roughly 1 PSI.
3. Monitor Coolant Level
Coolant ensures your car starts properly and protects your engine’s fluids from freezing over. It also prevents the formation of rust and guards against corrosion. Check your coolant levels early in the season so you know your safe all winter.
4. Grab Winter-Grade Windshield Cleaner
There are types of windshield wiper fluid specially formulated to remain liquid in freezing temperatures. During the winter roads are treated with salt and/or sand to prevent hydroplaning in inclement weather. While the mix provides great traction, it can crust over your windshield and decrease your visibility considerably. You don’t want your windshield fluid freezing up on you in a time like that.