Get Your Vehicle Winter-Ready

January 20th, 2021 by

The joys of winter include ice skating on a frozen lake, huddling with loved ones under a blanket by the fire, and building snowmen. Its miseries start with driving on icy and snowy streets because of the slippery surfaces, bad weather, and shorter daylight hours. You can make Indiana road trips during the cold season safer by getting you and your vehicle ready beforehand.

Prep the Interior

Bad weather or a breakdown in the winter may force you to wait in your vehicle for help or demand that you trudge through the ice to find a mechanic. You can prep for either possibility by packing blankets, extra winter outerwear, and boots in your car. Include food and water, a first-aid kit, a battery pack for your smartphone, and jumper cables for restarting yours or some else’s car.

An ice scraper can clear your windshield and windows of frost and a small folding shovel can help you dig out of snow. Bring a bag of abrasive materials such as sand or kitty litter to help with traction on a snowy or icy surface.

Prep the Exterior


Prepping the exterior can help your vehicle whether any cold condition. Start by cleaning the lenses of the headlamps, taillights, and any other external lights. You want them to be shining as brightly as possible to maintain your visibility. Replace your wiper blades with ones that are designed for cold weather.

Check the battery, which may function more sluggishly, if at all, when the weather turns cold. Clean any corrosion that’s built up around the battery terminal. If you buy a computerized battery tester, you can get an idea of how the battery is functioning.

Make sure that all the levels of your vehicle’s vital fluids are topped off. This includes the oil for lubricating the mechanics, coolant to prevent overheating, windshield washer fluid to keep your front view clear, power steering fluid to ease maneuvers, transmission fluid to keep your transmission cools, and brake fluid for letting you stop. Your owner’s manual can tell you where the reservoirs for these liquids are located and how to check them.

Keep your gas tank filled to the halfway mark or more. Otherwise, the cold can condense water in the gas tank, which can drip into your gas line and the fuel lines. When that water freezes, it blocks your fuel lines and prevents the flow of gas to your engine.

Inspect the tires to ensure that they have adequate tread depth. You can easily determine this by putting a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the tread goes lower than Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.

Check the tire pressure, which can drop just because the weather has gotten colder. The tire pressure can be found on a sticker in the driver’s door or your owner’s manual. If you plan on doing a lot of driving in the snow, switch to winter tires or add chains to increase your traction.

Prep Yourself

Your car can easily survive the winter unscathed if you drive it correctly. The best rule to remember is to travel slowly in your vehicle. Start on your trip earlier than you normally would and allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Tell others where you’re going, when you leave, and how much time you think it’s going to take you. You’ll then be easier to find in case of any emergency.

Avoid sudden moves, which may cause your car to skid. Speed up and slow down gradually and allow more space between you and the next car. This gives you more time to react and to stop when needed.

If you’re not comfortable driving in the snow, stay at home as much as possible. Before you actually solo on the road, practice maneuvers like starting and stopping, or changing speeds in an empty parking lot. If you know-how, make your car skid deliberately, so you can practice pulling out of it. In general, you want to steer into the direction that your vehicle’s rear is sliding toward.


Helping You Prep

If you don’t have the time or the desire to go through these procedures yourself, take it into the Service Department of Kelsey Chevrolet. We can also check things that you can’t such as the heating system and the defroster.

Posted in Tips