Here in Michigan we know that we do many things better than other parts of the country – summers on the lake, country road motorcycle rides and of course, the great Michigan season of snow and cold. While we prepare ourselves for the upcoming change in temperatures, it is important to remember to prepare your car for the changes coming with the new season as well.
When getting your car ready for the snow and ice, be sure to follow these easy steps for safe winter driving.
Check Your Tires
This may seem like common sense, but ensuring that your tires have good tread on them should be the first thing on your list. Without good tread depth, you run the risk of your tires losing grip on the snow and ice. When in doubt, have your local mechanic check out your tires – if needed, you can transition to a good set of winter tires.
You should also check to make sure that your tires are inflated properly. Without proper inflation, your tires can cause problems such as:
- Reducing the tread life of your tire.
- Reduce the gas mileage of your car.
- Reduce the stability of the car.
- Put your tires at risk for a blow out.
Tires are like shoes for your car – the better quality and care, the longer they will last.
Test Your Battery
The battery is often overlooked as a part of the car that we just trust is in good working order. If your battery is over three years old, it is a good idea to have your battery tested. Depending on the way you drive, your battery can have a shortened life span. Things like extreme heat and cold, many short trips vs. longer road trips can all reduce the life of your battery.
Check the Fluids
Another simple yet effective quick check for your car is to check all of the fluids. Your car needs to have all of the fluids at appropriate levels to run properly, and ensuring that things like your radiator are properly leveled off is crucial to winter driving. Stocking an extra container of washer fluid in the car is also a good idea, as the special formulas of washer fluid today can greatly improve your visibility during cold, snowy days. We all know how it feels to be on the highway with our windshield wipers scraping across a windshield that does not have any more fluid in the tank. Be prepared for the snow, ice and wind.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Michigan winters require us to be prepared for whatever it may throw at us; our kind of cold needs special preparation. It is recommended that everyone prepare a winter survival kit that will have everything that you might need if you get stranded in the snow or cold.
Not every kit will be the same, but some of the things that are recommended can be:
- Warm clothes
- Battery Charger
- Protein Bars and Snacks
- Bottles Water
Although not a complete list, this can give you some ideas of things that you can include in your own emergency kit.
By preparing for the winter weather, you can increase your safety while driving on the roads this season. Whether it is rain, sleet, snow or ice, preparing both your car and yourself for the winter roads can be the difference between a normal, safe long cold winter, or a winter that puts your car in the repair shop from an accident. Knowing how to get ready for the snow will increase your odds for a safe and happy winter.