Simple steps to prepare your vehicle for winter

prepare your vehicle for winterIt seems odd, as I look at the temperature gauge that reads 90 degrees, to be writing about how to prepare your vehicle for winter. But it is October and for most, winter is right around the corner.

Sometimes the first snow creeps up from out of nowhere. Suddenly we realize the tires might be a little too worn to handle the winter snow. And that brake job we’ve been meaning to get – well, there’s no time like the present.

prepare your vehicle for winterBut there’s really no reason to rush. With just a little planning, you can be prepared for winter well before the first blanket of white hits the ground. A quick check of the tread should tell you if you need new tires. And call to make that brake appointment now, before you do anything else.

If you have a 4WD option on your vehicle and didn’t use it over the summer, now is a good time to get that checked out too.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the lights, including the hazard warning lights (aka “flashers”) to make sure everything is in working order. And when was the last time you ran the heater? My guess is it was probably last winter. You don’t want to find out it’s not working the first time the temperature takes a nosedive.

Don’t forget to take a look at the battery. A cold snap can zap your battery, especially if it’s already weak.

Check the windshield wipers and fluid. If you typically do a mixture of fluid and water in the summer, flush it out and fill the reservoir with 100% fluid.

Keep your gas tank full. It’s a good idea for so many reasons. Besides being your energy source while you wait for help, should something happen, it also prevents condensation in the gas tank.

Once you’ve checked off all the working parts, don’t forget about what goes INSIDE your vehicle.

  • prepare your vehicle for winterAn extra gallon of wiper fluid doesn’t take up much space and it can come in handy.
  • Make sure your ice scraper is still hanging around from years past.
  • You may already have a flashlight, but do the batteries still work? It’s a good time to check.
  • Extra gloves, a scarf and some extra socks can squeeze into a small space and you’ll never know when you might need them.
  • Items like jumper cables and a blanket take up a bit more space, but they are useful items to have in a pinch.

Winter is just around the corner, but that’s no reason to let it get the best of you. A quick check of a few essential items and you’re on the road to safe winter driving!