Fall is in full swing, and winter will be here before you know it. While you get busy with fall festivities and big-ticket shopping ahead, it may be easy to overlook some tasks. Firstly, you shouldn’t ignore home maintenance if you want a cozy place when the temperatures drop. The second one is preparing your car to handle the rigors of the winter.
The weather gets extremely harsh in some parts of the US. The extratropical cyclone led to crippling winter storm conditions during the 2022 Christmas. High winds, blizzards, and heavy snowfall ruined the holiday season. The bone-chilling temperatures killed dozens, while homes were left without power, and travel chaos compounded problems.
If you remember last year’s winter woes, you will probably have your seasonal checklist ready. A proactive approach can save you time, money, and effort. Moreover, with 70% of American roads located in snowy regions, vehicle maintenance becomes essential from a safety perspective.
Here is a winter weather-proofing checklist to get your car road-ready and ensure safe driving this snowy season:
Stay on Top of Maintenance Schedules
Before anything else, you should stay on top of your car’s maintenance schedules. Experts recommend a service every 12,000 miles or 12 months to keep your vehicle in stellar shape. Timing it around fall is a good idea because a full-service check ensures everything is in place. A professional checks engine oil and antifreeze fluid levels, tire tread, batteries, and heater to ensure winter readiness.
According to Mizzoni’s Auto Body, you should also invest in essential repairs. You cannot risk being on the road in the snowy season with broken glass or collision damage. A body paint job is a good idea at this time of the year. A thorough checkup is definitely a great way to have peace of mind, no matter how bad the weather gets.
Invest in Winter Tires
Statistics show that 24% of weather-related crashes on American roads occur on slushy, snowy, or icy pavement. Additionally, over 15% happen during sleet or snowfall. Winter tires could be lifesavers with more traction on snow and ice. They reduce the stopping distance and prevent accidents on dangerous roads and during snowstorms.
Many car owners consider swapping the regular tires if they are worn out because they are more cost-effective. Conversely, you may have to shell out a few hundred dollars for a set of four winter tires, but that’s a small price for safety. Snow tires pay for themselves in just one season by keeping you out of accidents and preventing injuries.
Switch to Winter Wiper Blades
Poor visibility is one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on US roads during winter. Fog, rain, and snow can affect the visibility range. Ordinary wiper blades can cause a problem because they often get packed with snow. The blade may streak or miss most of your windshield in such a situation.
Switching to winter wiper blades eliminates the problem of ice and snow from sticking or packing. A rubber boot encloses the blade, leaving no room for accumulation. You get the benefits of better visibility and safer driving with only a small investment. You can always swap them in spring again and reinstall them in the next season.
Replace the Air Filter
Did you know that a clogged cabin air filter can affect the performance of your car’s heater? It may dramatically reduce airflow through the heater, putting extra load on the blower motor. Overlooking this factor means you may end up spending hundreds on replacing the blower motor.
Replacing the air filter is a far better option because it costs a fraction. Ideally, you should do it every year before the heating and cooling season. A replacement filter costs less than $20 and is easily available at any auto parts store. You can even try a DIY job by following the installation instructions in your owner’s manual.
Assemble a Survival Kit
Weather-proofing your car for the snowy season is not just about maintenance and seasonal replacements. It is also about assembling a winter survival kit for emergencies and breakdowns. Your batteries may die, poor visibility may stop you, or a snowstorm may leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Staying calm is the first thing to do in the event of a winter car breakdown. A survival kit with essentials such as blankets, food, water, flashlights, and a cell phone charger can be a savior. Being well-equipped can help you deal with a breakdown and avoid getting frostbite.
The Bottom Line
Cars often bear the brunt of harsh weather because they are outside. You can do your bit to protect your vehicle and make it road-ready to handle the winter woes. Follow this simple checklist to ensure top performance, warmth, and safety. Most importantly, pay more attention while driving and avoid being on the road when the weather is inclement.