Winter weather has arrived, bringing with it the threat of snow, sleet and freezing rain. This type of weather can present challenges to getting to and from your destinations safely. Driving on winter roads can be hazardous, but there are a few things you can do to prepare your car for the winter weather, keep it operating smoothly, and maximize your chances of staying safe on the roads.
Have an emergency kit
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety is to have an emergency kit of supplies ready if the unexpected happens. Your kit should include a flashlight, road flares, blankets, gloves, first aid kit, change of warm clothes, phone charger, shovel, bag of sand, bottle of water, ice scraper and non-perishable, high-energy snacks like nuts or jerky. Keep the items in a plastic bin that you can easily move into your car in the winter, and store in your garage during the warmer months.
Check your fluid levels
Antifreeze does just that — it keeps your engine from freezing during those below-freezing temperatures. You can check your engine coolant with a kit available at nearly every auto supply store, and check your antifreeze levels by following the instructions in your owner’s manual. Switch out your windshield wiper fluid for the type that is specifically made for winter weather. It won’t freeze on the windshield, and will actually help to loosen any ice buildup, making it easier to keep it clear.
Check your battery
Cold temperatures can put added strain on your battery, which is why batteries have a tendency to die during the winter. Check your battery’s fluids and cables, and look for corrosion on the terminals. You may want to consider having a professional inspect it to determine if you need to get it replaced. Many auto stores will test your battery at no charge.
Inspect your tires
Check your tires for tread wear, and rotate them every other time you have your car’s oil changed. You can check your tread yourself with a simple “Penny Test” — placing a penny in the groove of your tires and determining how much of Lincoln’s head you can see. If you can see all of his head when the penny is in your tire’s groove, it’s probably time to get new tires.
If you live in certain parts of the country that get heavy snow, it may make sense to invest in snow tires.
Whether you have snow tires or regular tires, be sure to keep them filled with air. Low tire pressure can pose additional risks when driving on winter roads.
Fill your gas tank
Empty space in your gas tank causes moisture build-up, which puts a strain on your car’s pumps and other parts. The more gas you have in your tank, the less space there is for water to accumulate. Keep your gas tank over half full at all times during the winter.
SFM Insurance is your partner for winter weather driving, and wants you to stay safe on the roads this season. We hope you will take these precautions, and let us know if you’d like to make any changes or additions to your auto coverage. With access to 16 well-known carriers, our independent agency can help you find the most affordable coverage for exactly what you need. Contact us through our website, or call us at 937-382-2546. For more tips and our latest updates, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!