Essential Tips for Your Car and the Winter Weather

The holidays are fast approaching and the traffic will steadily increase. The weather doesn't help either. Here are just a few things you can do to help protect yourself and your family while traveling.

Check Your Battery

Your battery is crucial in pretty much every aspect of the operation of your automobile. Without it, you can't start you engine or run any auxiliary components. You should have it checked to ensure it is producing enough power to crank the motor, even in the coldest conditions. Also, have your alternator checked to make sure it is producing the correct voltage. If it stops working, you only have a little battery power left and then you're out of luck.

Equip with the Proper Tires

The most overlooked part of winterizing a vehicle. Those 4 little patches of rubber are solely responsible for holding you and you loved ones on the road. If you live in a climate that is frequented by snow, or plan on traveling into one, make sure you have the proper tires on your vehicle. Another important thing to keep in mind is proper inflation. Under-inflating or over-inflating can reduce overall traction.

Proper Maintenance

Engine - Seems obvious, but many people think that a small problem will stay small until the weather gets better. (If it were only so easy) If your motor is idling unevenly, or has problems starting, get it taken care of immediately, it isn't worth it to wait.

Keep Your Windshield Clean

Windshield wipers, another little piece of equipment that doesn't usually get much TLC. Snow can get heavy after only a small amount has accumulated and everyday windshield wipers don't always offer the needed strength to remove such weight. A heavier duty pair of snow and ice wipers can really make you life a little easier.

Check your Anti-Freeze

Anti-Freeze - When you park your car for the night, the engine block will eventually reach the same temperature as the surrounding air. If that is below freezing and your anti-freeze isn't rated to a low enough temperature, that could easily result in a cracked block. Something like that isn't cheap to replace.

Keep Your Lights Bright

If you have to drive at night, your lights need to be bright and aimed correctly. More importantly, they have to be clean and functioning properly. Replace any dulling or broken bulbs and make sure the lens covers are clean and not cracked. Cracks can let in moisture and cause failures.

Watch Your Fuel Gauge

You should always keep your fuel level above half a tank when traveling. In the unfortunate event that you get stuck, you can turn the vehicle on every hour or so to keep the battery charged and the hot air flowing. It also adds a little weight for some added traction.

Have an Emergency Kit On-Hand

If the worst case scenario does happen and you do end up in an accident, you will want to be prepared. You should have an emergency kit somewhere in the car. Some things you may want to include are a blanket, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, flares, first-aid kit and a small shovel.

Test Your Heater

The HVAC system is you best defense against foggy windows and the only real way to provide heat for you and your passengers. If it isn't working properly, it may impair your ability to see and make for a very cold ride.

Do Proper Planning

No matter how many times it is said, planning ahead is always the best way to help prevent accidents. Tell a few different people where you are going, the route you will be using and what time you expect to arrive. Look at the weather and try to avoid heavy snow and ice. Stick to the main-roads as much as possible and leave plenty of time so you can concentrate on driving carefully.

The winter can be beautiful and provide some breath-taking scenery. On the other hand, it can make travel and general day-to-day activities very difficult. As long as you recognize that a small threat is present, you shouldn't have a problem. Drive safe and Happy Holidays.

Source : MSN

George Delozier
Automotive Innovations