12 Tips to Winterize Your Car
In Oklahoma, we often have 4 seasons of weather in one week! Be prepared for them all!
Winter weather can quickly change from unseasonable warm to severe snow storms, sometimes in a matter of hours. These tips should help you and your car have a safe winter of driving.
- Check your wiper blades, which have a lifespan of about a year. If wipers leave streaks on your windshields, replace the blades. The beam style blades don’t have an external spring to freeze up. Top off windshield washer fluid also.
- Inspect your tires and consider winter tires. Double check tires to make sure there is enough tread for wintertime traction. Quality tire treads shed the snow, ice and road grime more quickly, providing better traction for improved safety.
- Check your tire pressure twice a month, especially in colder temperatures. Tires lose a pound of pressure for every drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the recommended PSI found on the driver’s side door post for maximum traction. Make sure there is air in the spare tire and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in the vehicle.
- Inspect your antifreeze. While your engine is cold, use a tester to check the mixture for its freeze point. A 50/50 ratio means 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze, which is sufficient in most climates, except in extreme cold.
- Change your oil and oil filter. Clean, high quality engine oil goes a long way in protecting the motor in cold start situations.
- Visually inspect all lights, marker bulbs, tail lights, third level brake lights, especially headlights and driving lights. Daylight savings time requires bulbs to work longer hours.
- Inspect your engine’s belts and hoses. Cracked, frayed or worn out rubber won’t stand up to temperature extremes. Don’t get stranded on your next trip because of a $10.00 belt or hose!
- Replace the cabin air filter, if the vehicle is equipped. Outside contaminants from fall and summer driving are stranded in the cabin air filter and running the heater on high in the extreme cold only sends the micro-particles deeper into the vehicle.
- Check spark plugs, ignition coil, fuel-injection and other emission-control equipment, brake linings or pads and general lubrication.
- Test your car’s heater to make sure it’s in good working order, so you and your riders will be comfortable during winter drives.
- Don’t allow the gas to go below half a tank. Not only will this prevent damage from freezing, you’ll avoid running out of gas if you’re stuck in a traffic jam during the dead of winter.
- Put at least one coat of wax on the exterior of your vehicle. Not only will it protect your paint in winter, it can help snow and ice slide off more easily.
BONUS TIP: Emergencies can happen when you least expect them, so be sure to carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle.
- Snow brush and ice scraper
- Sack of sand or kitty litter for traction
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Jumper cables
- Car cell phone charger
- First aid kit
- Blanket and warm clothing
- Brightly colored cloth (to tie to the antenna)
- Crank radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- High protein food