Make Your Car Winter-Ready

Happy First Day of Winter! Here in Virginia, we often have mild temperatures around Christmas but this year, we are really going to feel Jack Frost nipping at the nose!

The frigid temperatures this week are no joke. Many people will be traveling by car this week so I thought I would share some winter preparedness tips. Even if you are just going to the store, you should be ready in case your car breaks down or you have another emergency.

If you haven’t yet done so, right now is a great time to prepare your car for driving in winter conditions.

  1. Stay home, if you can. If you can reduce trips or avoid driving completely by planning ahead, that would be the safest decision (understanding that it isn’t feasible for everyone). Roads are dangerous at 20 degrees are below, because of ice. Cars don’t operate well in the cold. Driving in very cold weather is hard on your car. You can also get frostbite very quickly at low temperatures. 
  2. Have a reputable mechanic check out your car, including the electrical system.
  3. Replace your windshield wipers often.
  4. Fill your car with gas so the gas line doesn’t freeze.
  5. The cold makes it hard for your battery to work, among other things, especially if your battery is 3 years old or older. When starting your car in frigid temps, let it idle for 2 minutes before driving. 
  6. Budget extra time for trips and drive the conditions. Turn on your lights, slow down, allow extra space between your car and others and increase stopping distance. Accelerate and brake slowly. 
  7. Get the fluids topped off, such as window washing fluid.
  8. Cold deflates your tires somewhat. Check your tires for wear and air pressure.
  9. Park your car in a garage, if possible. If parking outdoors, do not park under a tree. Try a car cover. 
  10. Stock your car with emergency supplies, especially blankets and extra gloves.

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