Winter driving conditions are the most hazardous of the year, so many drivers seek advice on how to winterize their cars. Snow and ice often pose a significant hazard to drivers, increasing the risk of accidents and injury. Vehicles can lose traction on ice and snow even when driving at a very low speed. As well as looking for improvements in the safety of the car, drivers should consider how to better equip themselves to withstand wintry weather conditions.
Here are some tips from Molle Toyota on how to winterize your car this year.
Your engine may need special consideration during the colder winter months, particularly if you live in a location where the temperature drops below freezing. According to the DMV website, where this is the case, you should consider switching to a thinner, less viscous oil. Similarly, the balance between coolant and water in your engine’s cooling system will need to shift during the winter months, to a balance of 60% coolant and 40% water. In both cases, it is advisable to check this with an authorized dealer (like Molle Toyota...) before making any changes, as this may impact on the performance of your car engine.
The capacity of your car’s battery is reduced in the winter, often quite significantly, to the extent where it can be very difficult to start your vehicle after a night out in the cold. A visit to your dealer is recommended for a full inspection of your battery and battery cables, looking for signs of wear, low levels of battery fluid, and low level of charge in your battery. It may be necessary to replace your battery before the cold season sets in, particularly if you intend to make a long journey.
The condition of car tires is critical when it comes to winter driving because traction may be greatly reduced. If your tires are worn or are of the wrong type, then braking and handling could suffer, and you may increase your chances of an accident. Winter tires can greatly mitigate the risk of an accident. They are specially designed to offer more traction on icy or snowy roads. Remember to switch them back to standard tires after the winter season, and you should get several seasons’ usage from them. Your tire pressure may also be affected during the winter, as the air inside the tire contracts in cooler temperatures. Ask our Service Department for advice if you're unsure.
Your wipers are a critical tool to help maintain visibility while driving. Standard wiper blades can be overcome by heavy snowfall, greatly reducing your ability to drive safely, particularly if they are old and worn. Inspect your blades before the winter season, and replace them if necessary. You can also purchase blades that are designed specifically for winter driving conditions. Wiper fluid is also very important, as this can help keep your windshield clear. Ensure that it contains anti-freeze solution so that it doesn’t freeze up in the tank or on your windshield.
An emergency kit for your vehicle is also an essential item when you winterize your car. You must prepare for conditions in case you are stranded in your car or need additional tools to help get your vehicle out of a difficult spot. Store a good snow brush, ice scraper, shovel in your trunk to help free your car from snow drifts. Carry a bag of sand, salt, or even kitty litter to help give your car extra traction if your tires are stuck. Make sure you have blankets, gloves, and a hat to stay warm if you become trapped in your vehicle. A flashlight and first-aid kit may come in handy, as will non-perishable food and drinking water.
When it comes to winter driving, it pays to be well-prepared. By learning how to winterize your car, you can prevent unwanted delays, and more importantly, the risk of accidents and injury to you or your passengers.