Cold weather is a test of your car’s resilience. Even on dry days, winter’s chilly temperatures are tough on batteries and tires. Adding in rain, ice or snow could spell disaster. Before temperatures plummet for the season, take a few steps to ensure you and your car are ready to take on wintery weather.
Batteries undergo extra strain during winter months when cold temperatures set in. The extra effort to warm up your car can easily deplete a battery and leave you stranded on the side of the road. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to avoid unplanned pit stops. Check your car’s battery in advance of chilly weather and charge or replace it as needed. Your battery works harder in the winter to move oil thickened by low temperatures. Help you car warm up faster by turning off accessories, including your headlights, radio and phone charger. A sluggish battery can prioritize its power to the engine when it doesn’t have too many other jobs to do.
Many drivers assume that winter tires are only helpful in heavy snow. While the thicker tread can definitely help in slippery conditions, winter tires are specially designed for cold temperatures and outperform all-season tires even when the ground is dry. Regular tires stiffen in severe cold, creating problems when you brake and turn, and especially when you need traction. Specially designed winter tires remain flexible even in low temperatures to help your car handle precisely and securely. When it is consistently cold enough for your coat and gloves, it is time to switch to winter tires.
A good driver keeps a few items on hand during harsh winter months. Icy car handles and frozen windshields are a real chore to clear in the morning, but a de-icer can speed up the process without intense scraping. Snow, ice and mud are traps for your tires, but kitty litter can provide instant traction on slippery surfaces. Keep a small bag in your trunk to avoid getting stuck. Even with all these items, it’s always good idea to keep blankets, extra water and non-perishable snacks in your car in case of emergency.