Do You Really Need Snow Tires? Prepare Your Car for Winter
The holiday season is fast approaching and that means a few things. That exciting and festive holiday spirit is in the air, Christmas music has begun to take over the radio and the roads are about to get icy. For people living in regions that experience harsh or even mild winters, that means preparing your car for the impending weather ahead. Getting your vehicle ready for winter is just as important as breaking out your coats and boots and winterizing your home. Here are a few important things to take care of before venturing out into the elements with your car this winter:
One of the most important maintenance items to take care of this fall is replacing your car’s tires with snow tires. Year-round tires are typically bare, offering little traction in snowy conditions and on icy roads. A strong connection to the ground is based on the strength of a tire’s contact patch. Snow tires have deep, open tread patterns that allow them to firmly grip the ground below. They are also designed to remain flexible and supple in the coldest of temperatures, according to the car blog, which helps on slick ice. Installing snow tires on your car is the best way to keep you and your passengers safe this winter.
For those who live and drive in particularly snowy, mountainous areas, studded tires are recommended to help plow through hard-packed snow. Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles advised that if changing to snow tires, you should change all four. Changing just the front or back tires will only create issues with your vehicle.
Engine oil and coolant
Coolant is the liquid responsible for preventing your engine from corrosion. It also protects your car from overheating. According to the DMV, you should be using coolant that contains ethylene glycol to help protect your engine. Each vehicle requires a different ratio of water to coolant and the information can be found in your car owner’s manual. For most, the ratio is 60 percent coolant to 40 percent water.
It’s also important to change the oil in your engine prior to the winter months. According to Machinery Lubrication, choosing an oil viscosity is important and oils that are too thin or too thick will not do their job properly. Outside temperature plays a role in the internal temperature of your engine. When temperatures start consistently dropping below freezing, you’ll want to have a thinner oil in your engine. It’s also wise to purchase an oil filter that works effectively with the viscosity of your new oil.
“Change your oil before the temperatures really start to drop.”
Winter emergency kit
Winter weather can often be unpredictable and when a storm does hit, it has the capability of quickly turning strong and violent. During the cold, snowy season it’s important to have an emergency car kit in your vehicle at all times. Driving during the winter months can sometimes land you in unprecedented situations, so it is best to plan ahead and be prepared for anything. Having an effective spare tire is one of the most important things recommended by the DMV to have in your car. Additional items to keep in your car during the winter are washer fluid, an ice scraper, flashlight, blanket, flares, a first aid kit and snow boots.
A dead car battery is one of the most common causes of a breakdown and although batteries can die for a number of reasons, they are more likely to do so during the wintertime, according to the Automobile Association. According to the source, the cold causes the battery’s ability to accept a charge to drop, meaning that it won’t recharge as quickly while you’re driving. Power output also drops in the colder weather. The use of so many car functions, from heat and windshield wipers to lights and so on, leads to overuse. When cars sit unused for a period of time, they may also have trouble starting up again in the cold. It is recommended to replace your battery if it is over five years old, before the real cold weather sets in. Being proactive will prevent battery issues later on.