As winter gets closer, you can help protect your car from winter conditions by planning ahead. Many areas experience heavy rains, snow, sleet, slush and ice, which impact how well your car functions during the winter. Seasonally updating and maintaining your car can help keep you and your vehicle safe throughout the winter.
To best prepare your car for winter, you can check and add to your car’s features. Stocking your vehicle with items that can help you in an emergency can also help you feel ready for colder weather.
What to Check and Change on Your Vehicle for Winter Weather
Your car has to work hard during the winter to safely transport you. You can prepare your car for winter by checking and changing out par to improve your car’s functions during the winter. Small changes can make a big difference when driving in poor weather conditions.
As you prepare your car for winter, check your tires to make sure they are ready for driving in cold weather. Inspect the tire pressure and tread depth to judge your tires’ condition. High tire pressure will ensure that you can control your vehicle during poor weather and road conditions. It is especially important to check tire pressure regularly during colder seasons as tire pressure decreases when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tires with good tread depth also help maintain control and grip when driving during the winter. Many states have tread requirements, so you need to check with the local legislature to ensure your car meets those standards.
Winter tires can help best ready your car for the winter. These tires incorporate different features to ensure your safety when driving in poor weather conditions. Winter tires can help improve your car’s functions when driving on ice or snow by improving your stop time. When stopping on ice with winter tires, your car can break 48% faster, helping you regain control of your vehicle. Invest in good winter tires to help protect yourself and your car this winter.
You can invest in window film to protect your windows and windshield. Applying an auto film for winter driving offers a wide range of protective features, including:
- High visibility during adverse weather: Rain, snow and sleet will easily wash off your windshield as you are driving with a window film so you can always see while driving during difficult winter weather.
- Impact absorption: Road and weather conditions can cause debris to hit your windshield during the winter, including rocks, ice and hard pieces of snow. Protect your windshield and yourself from cracks with a film that absorbs the impact of objects hitting your windows at high speeds.
- Scratch protection: Everyday factors like dirt and windshield wipers can leave small scratches on your windshield, especially during the winter when poor road conditions can kick up excess particles. A quality window film will protect your windshield from scratches that will decrease visibility.
Window films can keep the glass intact if it shatters and guard you and your passengers during an impact. During the winter, when icy and snowy roads make it difficult to drive, protect yourself and your passengers with window film on your windows and windshields.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Fresh windshield wiper fluid helps improve visibility when driving under adverse weather conditions. Road salt and water can easily dilute and dirty wiper fluid. Having clean wiper fluid ahead of time can help you prepare for situations where you will need extra visibility.
To better prepare your car for winter, invest in a wiper fluid made for colder weather so it doesn’t freeze as temperatures drop. You will feel safer in your car knowing you can see during snowy and icy conditions.
Before the winter season starts, test your car battery to ensure it is functioning fully. Colder weather adds strain to car batteries and causes them to die more frequently. When it’s cold outside, the oil in your motor thickens and causes the engine to work harder than it would in warmer months. This will drain your battery quicker than normal, so fixing any pre-existing problems with your battery will ensure safer driving during the winter.
When you service your battery, they can also check the state of your battery’s terminals. Terminals corrode over time, so having them checked regularly by a professional can ensure your battery functions at its best all year long.
As you need to navigate ice and snow during the winter, your brakes work harder to keep you and your car safe. Moisture from precipitation on the road and salt can cause rust to form on your brakes, decreasing their ability to function. You can better protect your car from winter conditions by checking your brakes before and during winter to identify and fix any problems that make winter driving more difficult.
Dirt and salt can also get into your brake fluid and cause it to stop working well. As you check your brakes during the winter, consider changing your brake fluid to keep your brakes functioning at their best.
In addition to changing your windshield wiper fluid, you can update your wipers to a more durable winter pair. Regular wipers degrade easily in winter weather conditions, making it difficult for you to see while driving.
Winter windshield wipers are stronger to remove snow, slush and ice from your windshield. They often come with additional features, like extra coating and durable hinges to accommodate heavy layers of snow and ice and push them out of the way.
A small thing you can check and protect during the winter is your hood latch hinges. Salt and moisture during the winter can cause the hinges to rust or break down, making it difficult to pop the hood of your car when necessary. Lubricating your hood latch can help ensure that you can access your engine during the winter.
Snow, salt and dirt can splash onto your headlights and cloud the cover. Depending on fall and summer weather patterns, you might even have dirty headlights before winter arrives. You can improve your visibility by cleaning your headlights before and during the winter for clear and bright headlights that guide you through winter weather conditions.
What to Keep in Your Vehicle for Winter Weather
Sometimes you can’t protect your car from winter weather. However, you can stock materials in your car to prepare for times where you need assistance. These materials will help keep you safe during cold, harsh conditions and equip you for solving problems on your own.
It gets cold quickly during the winter. If your car breaks down or gets stuck in the snow, you need to make sure you have the necessary materials to keep yourself and passengers warm while you wait for help or work on fixing the issue yourself. Storing a hardy blanket or two in your car will you prepare for these instances. Keep them under seats for easy access, and you can even pull them out for long road trips for a cozy, comfortable ride towards your destination.
Hat and Gloves
Like a blanket, keeping a hat and gloves somewhere you can easily access them will help if you need to assess your car’s condition or wait for service. Invest in some sturdy gear that you can use during all weather conditions to protect your hands and ears from the cold. Make sure that you have good hand mobility in your gloves so you can service your car if needed.
Having a hat and gloves available can be helpful beyond emergencies — on colder days, you can slip on your gloves to keep your hands warm as your car and steering wheel warm up for a better driving experience.
For morning commuters, having an ice scraper will help clear your windshield as your car warms and you prepare to drive to work. Scraping the ice from your windshield is essential for maintaining your windshield and improving your visibility. Ice scrapers will help windows that don’t have windshield wipers to help you see, like side windows and your back windshield.
Shovels are a must for people who live in areas that get a lot of snow. Like ice scrapers, you can use a shovel to dig your car out of snowbanks from overnight snowstorms or passing plows in the mornings before you drive to work.
You can also use your shovel in a pinch if you get caught in a snowstorm where snow quickly builds. If your car gets stuck, you can help yourself and even other vehicles by removing snow to regain traction again. For easy storage, consider getting a foldable shovel, so it takes up minimal space.
Ice and snow can make the road slippery and challenging for your car to gain traction. If you get stuck or want to clear the road before driving, you can sprinkle some safety absorbant on the ground to melt the snow and ice, making it easier for you to drive. It works similarly to the salt that plows put on the roads and has the same purpose. Many people use cat litter as an alternative because you can easily find it at stores.
Depending on your situation, you may need to turn off your car while waiting for help or digging through the snow. Snow can block the exhaust pipe and make it dangerous to keep the car running when you are stuck. Having blankets and other warm gear ready can help keep you warm while you wait, but you can also invest in a candle-powered heater to add some extra warmth.
Candle-powered heaters are small but efficient and require no extra energy — you only have to light the candles, and you’re all set. Remember to keep a lighter or matches in your car. You can buy a heater or make your own with a metal can, some candles and a lighter.
Getting stuck somewhere in the snow can make it hard to get help or walk somewhere to wait. You and your passengers may get hungry while waiting for a tow truck or a friend to contact you. Store nonperishable items to snack on while you wait, like nuts, trail mixes, granola bars, dried fruits or crackers.
Be sure to store food somewhere away from the sun for the best care and note their expiration dates. If you are good about regularly updating your stash, you can also dig into your snacks on road trips.
Year-Round Safety Items
While winter has unique problems that require extra precaution from drivers, you can keep some items in your car year-round for better safety practices, including:
- Flashlight: If you break down at night, you can use a flashlight to assess and fix problems. Since some areas don’t have streetlights, having a flashlight handy can help you prepare for all situations. Be sure to keep extra batteries on hand as well.
- Portable tool kit: If you are handy with your car, you may know how to fix some problems by yourself. By keeping a small tool kit in your vehicle, you can save time and money by servicing your car yourself instead of waiting for a tow truck. You can buy a pre-assembled kit, or you can build your own based on your skillset.
- Phone charger: Phones have increased functionality in cars now — they work as our GPS, music and points of contact. Make sure that you always have access to what you need by investing in a car charger. You can even buy one that can charge multiple phones. During the winter, having a working phone will help you get help quickly and alert people of your current situation.
- First aid kit: Whether you need band-aids, painkillers or more, having a comprehensive first aid kit will help prepare you for any situation. Like tool kits, you can buy one or make your own to fit your needs best.
Preparing for every situation can help better equip you and your passengers for any situation you may encounter on the roads this winter.
Protect Your Car with Windshield Film from Madico
When you protect your car during the winter, you protect yourself from the dangers of winter driving. Preparing your car for winter beforehand can save you time and money on repairs. The additional features you can add to protect your car are an investment that you can use for multiple winters.
During the winter, visibility and protection from potential accidents are essential. You can better protect yourself and your passengers from shattered glass by adding a windshield film. Using a vehicle film for driving can help you navigate roads during adverse weather and protect you from falling snow, ice and sleet that can come from passing vehicles, trees or overpasses.
Put your safety and your vehicle first this winter with an automotive window film from Madico.