5 Car Tips and Tricks to Help Prepare for Winter Driving

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Posted on December 6, 2021 by Rick Griffith

Winter preparation is necessary for helping your car be ready to drive in winter road conditions. Although some of these tips are for year-round use in taking care of your vehicle, they are just more essential during the winter months to help prevent being stranded due to a preventable problem. There are several helpful tips for prepping for winter such as keeping your tank full or popping the wipers up so they don’t get stuck. Here are some important car inspection points to make sure your vehicle is ready to tackle any weather condition safely.

1. Tire Conditions

The most obvious part that needs a thorough inspection is the tires. Through use, the tire’s tread will wear down which can be quite dangerous especially in winter. A proper maintenance schedule for rotating and balancing can help prolong the lifespan of the tires. The tires’ tread is important because it provides traction on the road which helps decrease stopping distance and increase stability on wet or icy roads. If you’re looking into getting new tires, consider winter tires. They are specifically made to provide more traction to allow for better stopping distance and handling in turns.

2. Visibility

Being able to see is vital while driving in winter, as better visibility helps with reaction timing and gauging distance. It is important to check on the condition of the wiper blades or better yet switch them to winter wiper blades. Regular wiper blades cause streaks or miss large swaths when packed with snow. Winter wiper blades have a rubber coating to prevent being packed with snow which creates better visibility by blocking ice and snow from sticking. Headlights are also very important as foggy or dirty can decrease the amount of visibility. To keep them from looking aged and yellow, wash with a mild detergent then flush with plenty of water and let dry. If they are already looking cloudy and aged, here are some tips to help clear and polish up those lights. Be sure to check out the taillights too!

3. Doors and Latches

While it isn’t as vital for safety while driving, everyone has fought to open their car door after it has been frozen shut. This is caused by water seeping into your door from the weather stripping and then freezing. To help prevent another fight against a frozen door, spray silicone to cover the weather stripping and the matching door surfaces. It is recommended to spray onto a rag to wipe down the weather stripping in order to protect the car’s interior from overspray. You can also lube the trunk and hood latch to prevent sticking!

4. Under the Hood

When preparing for winter, pop open the hood to check the conditions there too. As car batteries have a limited life, test them to make sure it isn’t going to end up leaving you stranded. Also check the engine coolant levels as it protects the engine, water pump, and helps prevent corrosion build-up. While you’re under the hood, check to see if the cabin air filter is under there as well. Before a clogged cabin air filter ends up ruining the heater, it would be better to clean or replace the filter so it doesn’t stress or overheat the blower motor. If the heater is already broken, it is recommended for it to be fixed before winter sets in. While it may just bring discomfort when driving short distances, it may become a serious issue if you or any passengers with you get stranded without any heat.

5. A Winter Survival Kit for Your Car

Gather some helpful and important items to keep in your car for roadside emergencies.These items not only may help you save money later on down the road if troubles arise, but also they can help prevent a situation from becoming more serious and dire.

Flashlight and Neon Ribbon

Don’t rely on your phone for a flashlight because you might need that battery power later for other things. A small LED flashlight or lights mounted on a headband is helpful in many situations such as for changing flats in the dark, to see under the hood, or flagging down passing vehicles to let them know your location. A neon flag or ribbon can also help make yourself visible to help people find you. Be sure to also keep extra batteries on hand as well.

Jumper Cables

Be sure to have your own set of jumper cables so you never have to hope that someone else has them and is willing to help you. If you have the cables and manage to get your car back up and running, that also just helped you from having a tow truck bill. Be aware that you can damage your motor by trying to incorrectly jumpstart your’s or another’s car. Here is a helpful how-to to help prevent incorrectly jumpstarting a car.

Foldable Shovel

A shovel is always handy when needing to remove snow from around your car. Even if wearing gloves, digging out snow using your hands can cool you down fast which could become dangerous depending on the situation. Using a foldable shovel can also help on space in your trunk. If you turn off the car to save gas while shoveling be sure to check the tailpipe for clogging before turning the car on to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, be sure not to over-exert yourself and take breaks when needed! 

First Aid Kit

Don’t wait to buy a first aid kit until you need it. Keep it in your car as well, it won’t do any good in the garage if you get stranded away from home. Be sure to add spare medications if you need them to your kit for emergencies, especially if it’s for any little passengers. Add some water bottles and non-perishable food as well. It’s always better safe than sorry.

Hats, Gloves, and Blankets

Keeping warm is incredibly important when stranded. Hats, gloves, wool blankets, and even old coats can help provide warmth while trying to shovel out snow, changing a tire, or waiting for help to arrive. If it is still snowing or the wind is blowing while waiting for help, periodically check the tailpipe for clogging to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Quality Used Vehicles from Car Credit

Being prepared for winter roadside emergencies can get you out of a bind and safely back home. If you are looking into trading in or buying a vehicle, check out our inventory at Car Credit. Our thorough inspections of the vehicles will help you save time and money so you can focus on gathering items for a survival kit or switching to winter tires and wiper blades. Our professional team at Car Credit is always ready to help answer any questions you have.

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