The holiday season is upon us and the last thing on your mind is getting your vehicle ready for the winter to come. You have a long list of people to shop for, food to prepare and decorations to hang. But in order to accomplish most of these tasks you rely on our vehicle, which is a necessity especially during the holiday season. Even if you are not traveling, your friends and family most likely are, so Advance Auto Parts would like to offer some tips for winterizing your vehicle in order to maximize safety on the road and give you some tips on how to avoid or be able handle unsafe weather conditions.
We prepare for winter by getting out our winter coats, gloves, scarves and hats. Preparing your vehicle for driving in harsh winter weather isn’t much harder. “Oddly enough, the best time to actually prepare your vehicle for winter is when it’s still warm outside,” says Bryan Gregory, Advance Auto Parts director of consumer education. So, keep in mind that you will want to complete this checklist at least before the first snow fall.
Advance Auto Parts’ Top 10 Holiday Prep Tips
- Inspect your antifreeze while your engine is cold by using a tester to check the mixture for its freeze point. A 50/50 ratio means 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze, which is sufficient in most climates, except in extreme cold.
- Have your charging system checked for FREE at any Advance Auto Parts store, cold weather starts make the vehicle battery work much harder and getting stranded in the cold is no fun!
- Change your oil and oil filter. Clean, high quality engine oil goes a long way in protecting the motor in cold start situations. Use the oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
- Visually inspect all lights; marker bulbs, tail lights, third level brake lights, especially headlights and driving lights. Daylight savings time requires bulbs to work longer hours.
- Tire Tread condition; check it yourself, or have it checked. Winter driving requires good traction in snow and ice. Quality tire tread sheds the snow, ice and road grime more quickly, providing better traction for improved safety. Check your tire pressure regularly, especially in colder temperatures. Follow the recommended PSI found on the driver’s side door post for maximum traction.
- Visibility is key to your safety; make sure that your wiper blades are in top condition, to fully clear your windshield, and back window if the vehicle is equipped. Road salt and slush can jeopardize visibility. Use washer fluid containing de-icer and Rain-X Treatment on windows to avoid the chiseling of ice early in the morning.
- Inspect your engine’s belts and hoses. Cracked, frayed or worn out rubber won’t stand up to temperature extremes. Don’t get stranded on your next trip because of a $10.00 belt or hose!
- Replace the Cabin Air Filter if the vehicle is equipped. Outside contaminants from Fall and Summer driving are stranded in the cabin air filter and running the heater on “high” in the extreme cold only sends the micro-particles deeper into the vehicle.
- Protect your vehicle’s paint. Rain, snow and salt are extremely tough on paint. A tough coating of quality car wax will add another barrier in-between road grime and your vehicle’s paint.
- Last but not least, prepare a roadside emergency kit including a flashlight with fresh batteries, a blanket, food bars, water bottles, cell phone, jumper cables, flares, Fix-a-Flat, HELP Sign, and a first aid kit.
“Even though you may never use it, it is essential to always carry a winter emergency kit in your vehicle,” says Gregory. “A small amount of preparation now could save your own, or someone else’s life later on down the road.”
When driving in the snow and ice, abrupt movements of any kind are extremely dangerous and can cause severe accidents. Be sure to travel at a safe and cautious speed, which creates as much possible down force on the tires. Leave extra space between you and other vehicles, both in front of you and behind you, and drive with your headlights on, during both day and night, for better visibility. Again, visibility is key, especially during inclement weather; make sure to defrost and remove ice from all windows before driving.
For more information on winter driving safety, visit www.AdvanceAutoParts.com, click on Know-How, then Video Clinics, and view our free “Winter Prep” clinic, or ask one of our friendly Team Members how you can travel more safely during this busy holiday season. Take our experts with you on your video iPod by downloading Know-How videos, free at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.