Tips for Winter Driving

It’s the Holiday Season here in Ohio. And that means lots of different things to different people. But no matter what you celebrate or how you celebrate it, the Holiday Season means more travel, and the possibility that the travel will be in Winter weather. So here are some things to check before you head on over to Grandmother’s house in your sleigh.

  1. Check your battery. Cold weather reduces the power output of your battery and your car requires more power to get started on cold days. You can check your battery yourself with a multimeter or lots of places will do it for free. You should also check your battery cables to make sure they’re free of corrosion.

  2. Check your wipers and windshield wiper fluid. Generally, wipers last about a year so consider checking yours if it’s been longer than that since you replaced them. Top off your wiper fluid reservoir and make sure you fill it up with fluid with a lower freezing temperature.

  3. Inflate your tires or consider getting snow tires. Cold weather causes the air pressure in your tires to drop and you need to keep your tires at their recommended air pressure to ensure the best contact between your vehicle and the road. While we don’t get that much snow in Ohio generally, snow tires are made of softer material and have a tread pattern that maximizes traction in cold, Winter conditions

  4. If you own an internal combustion engine vehicle, check your anti-freeze. The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. (If you own an electric vehicle, obviously, you don’t need to bother with this and the next few tips.)

  5. Check to see if you need to change your oil. Most oil changing stores recommend changing your oil every 3,00 miles but many cars these days recommend changing it every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Regardless, cold weather reduces oil’s effectiveness so make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s recommendation.

  6. Check your belts and hoses. Cold weather can weaken belts and hoses so check them for wear before you do your holiday travel and get them replaced if they’re worn.

  7. Lastly, consider having a roadside emergency kit stored in your car. This can include such items as: jumper cables, flares, a quart of motor oil, first aid kit, blanket(s), flashlight, ice scraper, tire pressure gauge, and a can of tire inflator.

By taking a little time to Winterize your car you can help ensure more time spent with friends and family and less time waiting for a tow truck.

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