Winter is almost here and there’s plenty to do in order to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable drive in the snow and ice. The drop in temperatures can affect a number of characteristics in your vehicle, from handling, visibility and durability. Here are a few steps you can take to ‘winterize’ your ride.
Many of these items are easy to find at your local shop, but if you don’t have time to run out to the store, you can easily order them online at eBay, and get them delivered to you.
Snow might not apply to all our readers, like those in warmer climates, but for those who see the white stuff regularly it’s best to start with winter tires, which hold a huge advantage over all-season and summer tires. You don’t have to look far to see which tires are rated the best, but it’s important to decide what kind of winter tires are right for your driving conditions. Some tires fare better in the snow, while some offer excellent ice traction. There are many specifications to consider, such as siping, tread-blocks and chemical make-up, but whatever winter tire your ride drives on, it’ll be significantly safer in winter weather than all season or summer tires. A good overall choice are these Michelin X-ice Xi2, which handle great in the snow and ice, or the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires which have good rolling resistance feel.
Windshield wipers can deal with water with no problems, but snow and ice? To handle that kind of precipitation consider changing up your ride’s wiper blades. Just like tires, wipers need to stick to the window, and not skip and skate over ice stuck to the windshield. Make sure to check out your wipers before the snow starts falling, bad wipers can leave streaks all over your windshield, limiting visibility and increasing the odds of an accident. Consider these Valeo ULTIMATE wipers for all-season window care, including winter weather. Another good option is the selection from Rain-X which is winter specific.
Car batteries can drain a bit quicker in much colder temperatures. If you have an old battery, it’s wise to switch it out for a new one. There are also a few batteries that boast cold temperature durability, and don’t have any drawbacks when it gets warmer, so if you park you car outside in extremely cold climates, consider getting a durable battery, like this model from Optima. Something to look for is the battery’s cold cranking amperes (CCA) which is how much current a battery can provide at 0 °F (−18 °C).
In low temperatures, a car’s fluids are thicker and won’t lubricate as well until they get warmer. Some drivers choose to start their car before setting off, to warm up the fluids. Another option is to change out some of the key oils that will warmer up quicker and ensure proper lubrication of your engine and transmission. Mobil 1 Synthetic offers a wide range of viscosity including this 0W-40 oil which would be perfect for colder climates. Synthetic is a good choice, here’s another selection from Royal Purple which would be solid in winter weather. In case you’re not sure which oil to choose, the first number in the oil name with a W, (0W-40) designates the oil’s cold weather thickness. The second number indicates the oils viscosity when it is warm.
Have a ride that doesn’t go out in the winter? Ensure that when your prized car is stored during the winter that it’s done properly. For example, a fuel stabilizer will ensure that the gas that’s left in the tank doesn’t go bad, and damage the engine when spring comes and you take your ride out for its maiden journey. Another good idea is a trickle charger, which makes sure that the car’s battery doesn’t go flat while it’s not being driven.
Other things can help make winter driving easier and safer. De-icer fluid for your windshield helps when your window is covered with ice. It’s is always a good idea to have an ice-scraper with a snow brush in the car for when you need to clear snow from the windows. Consider saving this in the trunk, rather than in the car, since opening a door can bring snow into the car and onto the seats.
If you care about the interior of your car, rubber floor mats will be a good idea, since they can collect snow, and slush and can be cleaned easier than normal floor mats.
These extra items will really help make winter driving easier, and are important elements for taking care of your car during the cold winter seasons.
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