For drivers in the Midwest, winter driving means dealing with ice and snow on the roads, and an increased risk for accidents. Unfortunately wrecks are not the only risk involved with winter driving. Extreme temperatures can also leave your car vulnerable to internal problems that could leave you stranded.
Planning ahead can mean all the difference for safe winter driving. By taking time to do a little extra cold weather vehicle maintenance, you can avoid issues that could leave you stranded.
Inspect Your Battery
Extremely low temperatures stress your car battery due to the fact that the chemical reactions needed to make it work occur more slowly. If your battery happens to be old, it will be even more at risk for cold weather failure. It is a good idea to have the battery tested. If it needs replacement, do it now instead of waiting until you are stranded.
Check Your Fluids
Freezing temperatures causes the fluids your car needs to run properly to thicken. This includes your transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, oil, and antifreeze. Keeping all of your essential fluids topped off at proper levels will help you avoid cold weather problems.
Monitor Tire Pressure More Frequently
Tires tend to lose 1 pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. Under inflated tires will not perform well under any conditions, but they’re especially dangerous on slick, snowy roads. Tire pressure loss can also eventually result in a flat tire. Be sure to check inflation more frequently as the air gets more frigid.
In addition to preventive maintenance, make sure you are prepared for a road emergency. This is especially critical during extremely cold temperatures. Keep some extra winter items in your trunk such as blankets, gloves, boots, packaged hand warmers, and a folding shovel, along with your roadside emergency kit. And always keep make sure your phone is fully charged before every journey.
Want to be extra sure you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving season? Stop by Raben Tire for an inspection.