Winter is officially around the corner—but the winter weather is already here! And unfortunately, here in Western New York, that weather can wreak havoc on your car’s battery, engine and tires.
We want to make sure that you and your vehicle are fully equipped for the season. Here’s everything you need to know about preparing your vehicle for winter.
1. Change your windshield wipers.
Did you know your windshield wipers start to lose their effectiveness after six months? Your blades should be able to completely clear the glass with each swipe. And blades aren’t the only thing you’ll need to consider—your windshield washer fluid is equally important.
Between snow and slush, it can be difficult to see out your windshield in the winter months. Since regular wiper fluid tends to freeze to your windshield, make sure you replace it with a winter mixture (this will allow your windshield to stay clear).
2. Check your tires.
First things first, are your tires prepared for winter weather? If not, now is the time to consider all-weather tires or snow tires. Here are some other tips to keep in mind to prepare your car for winter:
- Tire tread: Need a trick to check your tire tread? Insert a penny into the tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing inward. If you can see his entire head, it means you need to replace the tire!
- Tire pressure: Since cold weather can cause air pressure to drop, your tires may not be as full as they should be. Be sure to follow your vehicle’s manual for proper tire pressure throughout the winter months.
3. Schedule an oil change.
Cold weather reduces the effectiveness of your vehicle’s oil, which makes it tougher to circulate through the engine and keep it lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates, and schedule an oil change if you need assistance in making sure you have the right oil viscosity for your vehicle during the winter.
4. Prepare an emergency supply kit.
When it comes to winter weather, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You never know when a 20-minute commute home will turn into hours of traffic backup! By taking the time to put an emergency preparedness kit together, you and your loved ones will be able to rest assured knowing you’re safe while traveling.
Your supply kit should include the following:
- Snow brush
- Flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Jumper cables
- Blankets, gloves and an extra set of warm clothes
- Water bottles
- First-aid kit
5. Follow winter safety driving tips.
Each year, 24 percent of weather-related accidents occur on snowy, slushy roads, while 15 percent happens during snowfall. That’s why staying safe this winter isn’t just about how you prepare—it’s also about how you drive.
When winter weather strikes, drivers are faced with icy roads, limited visibility and a higher chance of accidents. Before you leave your driveway (or current destination), take the time to clear the snow off your car, drive with your headlights on, and reduce your speed accordingly. According to the Federal Highway Administration, average speed should reduce 30 to 40 percent in these conditions.
6. Visit your local auto repair shop.
Even the most cautious drivers can find themselves caught up in unfortunate winter weather situations. That’s where your local repair shop comes into play. If you’ve been involved in a minor fender bender or a major collision, it’s important to have a certified technician take a look at the damage to your vehicle.
Whether you have questions about preparing your car for winter or you’re in need of a specific repair, Northeast Collision is here to help. Learn more about our services or contact us today to see how we can help restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition or better.