Cole Gerome checking out the dipstick.

Cole Gerome checking out the dipstick.

The coming months of January and February are the perfect times to go out with friends and do some favorite winter activities like ice skating and visiting the mountains for a day to ski or snowboard down the slopes. However, one thing decides all of this: a person’s car. Simply put, if the car can’t run in the cold weather, nobody is going anywhere. The winter months are the most common time for car breakdowns but preventive steps can be taken to insure that winter plans don’t end up thawing out.

The most important preventative measure for cold weather is to insure a working battery. Batteries should be changed every 3 to 5 years and a mechanic should check the battery and spark plugs. All cables should also be checked with a firm pull to make sure none are loose or have slipped free. It should also be checked for indicators of corrosion such as white powder along clamps and nodes.

Keeping fluids in the car full and stocked is another huge part of winterizing a car. Winter blends of windshield wiper fluid are incredibly cheap and help reduce the the chance of the fluid to freeze. Filling up the car with antifreeze or coolant can prove very beneficial, just make sure to read the bottle as some antifreeze can be pure and need to be mixed. Visibility is key when winter driving. So buying a pair of winter windshield wipers to help remove moisture better can be a helpful and cheap measure. Headlight clarity should also be checked and any foggy headlights should be taken care of. Tire pressure should also be checked and filled to help with handling, as tire pressure can be greatly affected by temperature drops even by just 10 degrees.

An emergency kit for cold weather placed in the car can also be a great and easy way to prep for winter. If there is a breakdown or a closed road while driving, an emergency kit can stop a minor inconvenience from becoming a major problem. It should be stocked with blankets, coats, and extra clothes to stay warm. Bring food and water to prevent being without such essential items for hours or days. Jumper cables, a first aid kit, socks, hand warmers, and other helpful items should also be in the car to stay safe while winter driving. Winter driving skills, such as sliding, should also be practiced, especially for new and inexperienced drivers.

Protecting and winterizing cars for winter is a very important preventive measure that should be taken by everybody in order to create the safest driving situation in the most dangerous season of the year to drive. Winter driving can be dangerous, but with these simple prevention measures winter plans with friends will be back on track.

By: Matthew Fast