Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter Driving
While we may not get blizzards in South Carolina, winter driving can be a challenge if your vehicle isn’t in good shape. To ensure that your car can meet the increased demands when the weather outside is frightful, consider these tips.
Start with a well-maintained car
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises that you keep your car in good working order with a tune-up and other routine maintenance. Leaks, worn hoses and needed parts should be repaired or replaced. And remember that keeping your gas tank at least half full can avoid a gas line freeze-up.
At North Hills Automotive, we offer a 120-point Safety and Service Inspection for $99, which includes an oil change and filter PLUS 3 more FREE oil changes to use anytime you want — on any vehicle you want, not just the vehicle we inspected!. Besides being a great value (The retail price for 4 oil changes alone would cost $180.00), the NHA Annual Inspection gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is in safe and in reliable condition.
Rubber to the road
Sliding off the road and landing in a ditch is one way to find out you need new tires. we don’t recommend it. As mentioned in a previous Driving Line article, tires become unsafe when the tread is worn down to less than 3/32”. This is especially true on snowy, icy roads.
You should also make sure your tires are properly inflated. Cold weather causes tire inflation pressure to drop. The trained technicians at North Hills Auto, a full-service tire dealership in Greenville, can help make sure your treads are safe for your winter travels.
If you can’t see out your windows, you are a danger to everyone on the road. You can try using your wipers, but it’s better (and probably faster) to use an ice scraper on your windshield and headlight lenses. Also, since snow, water and mud are likely to be kicked up from other vehicles, be sure to top off your windshield washer reservoir with a winter-blend solution that works in below freezing temperatures.
The Winter months mean more of the daily commute takes place in limited visibility. Seeing and being seen is critical in these conditions. Headlight maintenance could be a lifesaver for you and your family.
- Clean them regularly – If your windshield needs cleaning, it is likely your headlights do to.
- Address clouding and yellowing – cloudy lenses mean compromised visibility.
- Check illumination – bulbs dim over time – remember, always replace in pairs!
- Check alignment – potholes are the main culprit for misaligned headlights.
Electric and hybrid vehicles
Minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it’s not in use. Preheat the passenger compartment before you unplug your vehicle in the morning.
We can’t control the weather or the prevent hazards you may find on the roads, but we hope you and your vehicle are prepared for wherever your travels take you, whether it’s across town or across the country. After all, as the driver, you are your car’s most important safety feature.
Just in case
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are several things you should keep in your car when driving in hazardous winter weather:
- Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
- Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
- Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
- Blankets for protection from the cold.
- A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).
Be sure to check out our post with Winter Driving Tips!