If you drive in a real winter climate, even if it’s only a few days per year, it pays to be prepared. People in the deep southern United States often get surprised as their roadways become impassable, stranding motorists due to a few inches of icy mix. Travelers across the great and vacant midwest can find themselves trapped by giant snow drifts and blinding blizzards as weather changes without warning. There are personal safety precautions like blankets, water, energy bars and other needs which should never be overlooked, but there are 3 very important vehicle maintenance tips which should never be overlooked.
Proper Tires And Inflation
Most tires today are rated for anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 miles with proper inflation, regular rotation, and normal driving. Too many times the only time we think of our tires is when someone tells us it looks like we need to get some new ones. Before the heaviest part of winter, usually February, it pays to have your tires inspected for abnormalities, wear, and proper inflation. It also may be recommended to lower your tire pressure when facing icy conditions, but you should consult your local auto service professional prior to making any such adjustments.
Most important in wintry driving is how much traction your tires provide; How well they grip the road. Worn tires, those which are missing too much rubber from the miles they have been driven, can be deadly on the thinnest patches of ice. Even new tires designed for such conditions can still have a challenge gripping the road. Get your tires check now and before every winter season.
Anti-Freeze And Cooling System
With time anti-freeze loses its ability to keep the coolant in your engine’s system from freezing. At temperatures anywhere below the freezing point, 32 degrees fahrenheit or 0 degrees celsius, the water in your cooling system can freeze even while you are driving. This can lead to a dangerous and costly engine failure leaving you and your family stranded regardless of the conditions outside. Nobody wants to walk even ½ mile to the nearest help in a driving winter storm. Have your cooling system and anti-freeze checked every year especially just before winter. Make sure the auto mechanic also checks your radiator cap and thermostat. Keep an extra couple of gallons of coolant in your vehicle just in case you or someone else needs it.
Electrical System From Battery To Bulbs
Most people rarely think of a batter leaving them stranded. They figure if the car starts and they get on the road everything is fine. In reality electrical systems can fail on the road causing engine stall and complete system failure. A battery that is having a difficult time holding a charge can put extra load on the alternator and cause the alternator or attached components to fail. Then it’s only a matter of time until the vehicle dies even if it’s moving. Have your battery, alternator, and other electronics checked regularly and especially when temperatures are going to average around freezing or lower. It can save not only your life but the lives of your family or other passengers as well.