2013 Dodge Charger AWD SportEnlarge Photo
While some portions of the country may have unseasonably warm weather this winter, other areas will be hit with classic winter deep-freeze, coupled with high snowfall, drifting snow and blizzard conditions making driving a hazardous experience.
Since it’s not always possible to remain nestled in the safe and warm confines of home with the family during the winter months, the Car Care Council says it pays to be proactive by taking the following precautions and prepping your car to better meet wintry weather:
2008 Volvo XC70 - winter drivingEnlarge Photo
Perform system checks – Ensuring your car is adequately prepared to venture out in winter weather means making sure that the various systems are up to correct operating condition.
Check tires for wear and/or replace – Check tire tread depth and tire pressure, the latter weekly during winter. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice each winter, consider replacing your regular all-season or high-performance tires with winter tires. Designed to provide maximum grip and control in low winter temperatures and on snow, slush and ice, winter tires have deeper tread depth, unique tread compounds, and specialized winter tread patterns.
Change oil and filters – While adhering to recommended intervals for oil changes is important, switching to so-called “winter weight” oil might be a good precaution, especially if you live in a cold weather climate. At the same time you have the oil checked and/or changed, have the technician check and replace fuel, air and transmission filters, if needed.
Keep the gas tank full – Before heading out on a trip of any duration this winter, even to work or school or the mall, make sure the gas tank is full. This helps prepare you to wait out storms or unexpected breakdowns and emergencies without running out of fuel.
Stock an emergency kit – Since you want to be prepared for the unexpected, keep the car stocked with necessary items you’ll need in an emergency. These include, but are not limited to: jumper cables, flashlights and batteries, snow brush, ice scraper, small shovel, blankets, extra clothing, nonperishable food, and bottled water.