Gas prices are something to celebrate this holiday season, being at a five-year low. It looks like consumers are responding by driving out of town for the holidays. For many of these winter drivers, cold weather and icy roads could be a factor. With all this in mind, AutoMD.com compiled the top nine tips for winterizing your vehicles:
1. Check the antifreeze (coolant). The engine cooling system should be filled with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water to prevent freezing and boiling over. Antifreeze testers are available at your local auto parts store to test the mixture. To keep the cooling system operating at peak performance, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing the antifreeze (flush and fill).
2. Change the engine oil. Use the recommended oil viscosity range for winter. 5W-30 motor oil flows quicker in cold weather than 20W-50. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend 5W-30 oil for year round protection.
3. Check the tires. Tires should be properly inflated, and the tread depth should be at least 4/32″. Using snow tires can improve traction over all-season tires.
4. Check the battery. Cold temperatures can reduce the battery’s power. If the battery is older than four years, it may be time to replace it.
5. Check the wipers and wiper fluid. Replace wipers that are old or worn, and (to prevent freezing) use windshield washer fluid instead of water.
6. Check the emergency kit. Make sure your kit is well stocked and add an ice scraper, tire chains, jumper cables, and warm clothes for winter weather emergencies. Remember to include a candle and matches, as well as some bottled water and energy bars. You can use a candle for light and warmth inside the vehicle if you get stranded.
7. Check 4WD operation if equipped. Since you may not have used 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) all year, make sure the 4WD is activated (review your manual on “how to activate”) when you switch it on. Using 4WD improves traction in slippery conditions.
Source: (KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)