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Winterizing Your Car – 6 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Car For Rain or Snow

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Winter is definitely here, and it’s nowhere near ready to leave. This winter has been crazy here in Alabama with snow and ice one week, and sunny warm days the next. Regardless of where you live, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that your car is ready to face all that winter has to give. Here are six things you should always do when it come to winterizing your car for rain and snow.

Winterizing Your Car - 6 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Car For Rain or Snow

Winterizing Your Car in 6 Easy Steps

Inspect Your Battery

Winter weather can wreak havoc on a car’s battery. Starting an engine in cold temperatures can take up to twice as much current than under normal conditions. Add in the fact that a car battery loses a good percentage of its strength at lower temperatures, and you’ve got a recipe for battery failure. And that’s not even taking into consideration all of the extra electrical devices we use in our cars (cell phone chargers, upgraded audio, and GPS devices) that are straining and draining our car batteries even faster.

A weak battery will be the first one to go, so it’s well worth it to have your battery checked. A simple load test performed by a qualified technician can help determine if your car’s battery is strong enough for cold weather starts. If not, it’s time to invest in a new battery.

Another issue for concern is corrosion. Battery terminals, posts, and even cables are all susceptible to corrosion which looks like a fuzzy, gritty white, blue, or green substance.  Make sure the battery terminals and cables are cleaned off and free of corrosion. In addition, check to make sure they are all securely attached.

Check Your Coolant

The next step in winterizing your car is checking the coolant. Your engine’s coolant is just as important during the winter as it is during the summer. You need to be absolutely sure that you have the correct water-to-antifreeze mix in your radiator, or else you could be in for big trouble.

Antifreeze prevents engine coolant from freezing in extreme cold, and it also helps to insulate your radiator from corrosion. If the mix has too much water, the radiator could freeze up and cause your engine to overheat.

While it’s not hard to check the antifreeze concentration yourself, many shops will do it for free. If you do choose to do it yourself, make sure you read your owner’s manual to find out how to check and replace it.

Have Your Brakes Inspected

Brakes are an important part of winterizing your car. Driving with worn brake pads is dangerous anytime of the year, but even more so during the winter. This is because moisture from wet and snowy streets lubricates your tires as you drive. As a result you have to apply more brake pressure to stop over the same distance. If your brakes are already close to the danger zone, they are more likely to fail.

Take your vehicle to a certified mechanic and have them check your pads and replace if needed. While there have them inspect the entire system to ensure everything else is in good shape and working correctly.

Check Your Tires

And speaking of tires, winter weather also affects them. First of all, as the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. This can cause your tires to wear unevenly. This uneven and worn tread reduces the responsiveness of your tires on wet and icy roads, and also increases the chances of a blowout. Therefore you should remember to check your tire pressure more often during the winter than you would during other seasons.

If you live where it often ices and snows, chains are a necessary precaution. Make sure you find the right chains that fit your tires and keep them ready for installation at a moment’s notice.

Winterizing Your Car - 5 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Car For Rain or Snow adding snow-chains

Check Your Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid

Check to make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and that they do not streak or smear while working. Also, keep in mind that windshield blades that do well in warm weather may not work as well in snow and ice. Consider investing in a set of winter blades if you live where you encounter snow and ice. Winter blades are designed to remain flexible in extreme temperatures.

You should also check that you are using washer fluid rated for sub-freezing temperatures. The alcohol concentration in these winter formulas is higher, so it won’t freeze as easily on your windshield or in the reservoir. It can also help de-ice your windshield while driving in the sleet or snow.

Be Prepared with an Emergency Kit

Even when your car is running great, being prepared for unexpected breakdowns and snowstorms can keep you from being left out in the cold – literally. Another important part of winterizing your car is making sure to equip your vehicle with emergency supplies such as basic rain gear, extra clothing (including socks, scarves, and a hat), waterproof boots, a heavy blanket, a flashlight, a multitool, a compact shovel and more.

The best way to be sure your car is ready for winter, of course, is to have it properly checked over by a professional mechanic like those at Starr Motors Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Dealership in Suffolk, Virginia. A certified technician and proper maintenance can keep your vehicle running properly and safely all year long.

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