More often than not, winter marks the most dangerous time to drive – and it’s all because of the brutal weather. Throughout the season, conditions can change quickly, with very little notice. Will you be ready when they do?
While it’s not quite winter yet, it could be time to start winterizing your car. Make sure it’s ready for the weather, and make sure you have any emergency items that could keep you safe.
Before the first snowfall or ice storm, follow this list of tips:
- Make sure your car has been recently serviced (like an oil change and fluids level check).
- Have your battery tested to be sure it can hold a charge. And while you’re there, see if they can remove corrosion.
- Have a professional check (and possibly replace) your antifreeze.
- As part of an overall inspection, check belts, hoses and spark plugs to help avoid a breakdown.
- Replace your wiper blades, and keep a spare pair in your car. Don’t forget to check your wiper fluid to ensure that it’s freeze resistant.
- Check your tire pressure. Many cars alert the owner when air is needed due to weather fluctuations, but it never hurts to keep a gauge handy. Your owner’s manual should recommend appropriate tire pressure for various driving conditions, and remember that cold weather can cause tires to deflate.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase snow tires, particularly if you live in rural areas where roads are less likely to be cleared.
- If you have 4-wheel drive, test it. Chances are, you haven’t used it since last winter, and you don’t want to learn about a malfunction during the first storm of the year.
- To the degree possible, maintain a full tank of gas, especially in freezing conditions. This may help to avoid frozen gas lines and other headaches. It may also keep you warm while you wait for roadside rescue in the event of a weather emergency.
- Pack an emergency kit for each car in your household. We recommend having these 14 things.
Last but not least? Talk to an agent to make sure your car insurance has you completely covered – all season long.