Since Kansas City winters seems to arrive in January more often than December, it is not too late to take a few minutes to make sure your car is as ready as you are for a few months of ice and snow. Here are some tips to make sure you keep your car is running and performing at its peak during the winter months.
1. Change your oil and your oil filter
Cold temperatures cause oil to thicken, which can prevent it from lubricating your engine, causing damage. Fill your engine with an oil of lower viscosity. The number before the W represents viscosity so if you are using 10W-40 you would want to switch down to a 5W-10. If you are unsure, check your owner’s manual for the correct type of oil.
2. Have your batteries checked and charged
Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather. A detailed inspection of your battery, cables and fluid will help make sure your car is ready for the winter. Check over the battery cables for cracks and breaks. The terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. You can check your battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole. Refill it with distilled water if the level is below the bottom of the cap.
To read the level of charge in your battery, you will need to turn off the engine off. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that tells you the amount of voltage remaining in the battery.
3. Check your tires and consider winter tires
Driving in snow and ice can be very difficult and sometimes dangerous. Make sure you have adequate tread on your tires and frequently check their pressure. If you live in an area that sees a high amount of snowfall consider snow tires. Snow tires are made of cold-resistant rubber and have deeper treads.
4. Fill your fuel tank
During the winter, moisture can build up in your gas tank. If the moisture freezes in the gas tank you could experience heavy damage. You can prevent this damage by keeping your fuel tank above half full. By doing this, the gasoline will absorb any moisture before it can build up and freeze.
5. Replace your wiper blades and wiper fluid
Regular wiper blades struggle with ice and snow. Consider changing them to winter wiper blades to ensure visibility for safe driving. It’s best to change your wiper fluid to a wiper fluid with antifreeze solution to keep it from freezing.
6. Always carry an emergency kit
If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car, consider putting together a few items and storing them in the trunk. These are good items to carry in your car in the winter months in case of an accidents or if you get stuck in a snow bank:
- Warm clothing (jacket, hat, gloves)
- Triangle reflectors for visibility to let other cars know you are there
- First aid kit
- Bag of sand or kitty litter for traction
- Jumper cables
- Small shovel
- Energy-boosting snacks
- Ice scraper
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
When you take the time to winterize your car, you become more comfortable driving in cold, snowy climates. A short commute quickly becomes difficult when your vehicle isn’t equipped to handle snow and ice. By planning ahead, you can make winterizing your vehicle an annual ritual in the name of safety and vehicle reliability.
This helpful information provided by our friends at Santa Fe Tow Service. Add their number to your phone contacts so you’ll be ready if you ever need a lift. 913.894.5201