Summer is starting to fade into fall — kids are back in school, Starbucks is offering Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and the weather is getting cooler. That also means winter is coming.
There are a lot of things you do to prepare for winter. You might get specific home maintenance done or change your clothes or bedding. But what about getting affordable car insurance and taking care of your vehicle?
Here are four steps to take before the bitter winds blow.
1. Check Your Tires
Your tires are your primary connection to the road when you’re driving. At Freeway Insurance, we always advise our clients to check tire tread first.
You can use the “penny test” — place a penny in the groove of your tire, with Lincoln’s image facing you and the top of his head toward the tire if the top of his head is still visible while in the tire tread, your tires are worn and need replacement.
You should also check the air in your tires. Use a tire pressure gauge and the ideal pressure ratings listed inside the driver’s side door.
2. Change Oil and Antifreeze
Most of us let our engine oil go far too long between changes. Most mechanics put a sticker in your windshield when they change your oil, letting you know when to come back.
Take a look at that sticker. Are you overdue? If so, it’s time to make an appointment. At the same time, have the mechanic check your antifreeze levels and other engine fluids. Antifreeze keeps your engine from freezing in cold temperatures — without it, your car can be completely undrivable!
3. Pack an Emergency Kit in Your Car
If you’re in an accident or break down on the road, it’s vital to keep yourself safe until you get help. In the winter, that means packing a winter emergency kit in your car.
Consider the following essentials:
- Gloves, socks, and winter hats
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A first-aid kit
- Bottled water
- High-energy snacks such as jerky or trail mix
- A bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter
- A collapsible snow shovel
Staying safe after an accident or breakdown is more challenging in the winter than at any other time.
4. Review Your Car Insurance
Our job at Freeway Insurance is to ensure that everyone has the affordable car insurance they need in an accident, especially during winter weather.
Do you have the liability limits you need if you damage another vehicle or injure someone with your car? Do you need comprehensive and collision coverage to ensure your vehicle is repaired after an accident?
Review your coverage to ensure you have the insurance you need.
Is Your Car (and Insurance Coverage) Ready for Winter?
From checking your tires to getting affordable car insurance, there’s a lot to do to prepare your car for winter weather. This guide will give you a head start on this vital maintenance.
If you need help with car insurance, we’re here to help. Contact us today to get a quote on the car insurance you need!
Here are four extra steps to take before the bitter winds blow.
You should first prepare your car for the cold weather by having it looked over and have the coolant system checked, especially if you live in a place where temperatures get below freezing. Look over your wipers, too, to make sure ice doesn’t build up when they’re in use. If you think about it, ice can also build up on the inside of the windshield while using defrost mode. Check that too. You might also want to clean your battery cables and take care of any snow buildup around them. And lastly, check your tire pressure to make sure there isn’t much difference between winter tires and summer tires. If there is more than a two psi (pounds per square inch) difference, it’s best to get new tires before the winter.
If you live in a place where there is snow on the ground for months, it can be helpful to keep an ice scraper and a few other things in your car. If you have a cloth or chamois, that could come in handy too. You might want to invest in a dedicated ice-scraper with a brush, just because that seems like the most logical thing to do when dealing with slush and ice on windows. If you’re still concerned about being able to scrape off all of the excess slushes and whatever else might be caked onto your windows, maybe consider having a heated ice scraper installed in your car.
The next thing you want to do is make sure your headlights are clean and clear of any gunk or grime that might impair their ability to shine brightly when it gets darker sooner. And while we’re discussing lights, make sure all of them work — inside and out — before winter sets in. That includes the high beams and the turn signals too. If they don’t, make sure you get them checked before driving around at night with just one working headlight. It’s also a good idea to give your mechanic a quick phone call if there have been any recalls on your car for things like defective airbags or faulty ignition switches. Sometimes those kinds of defects can be more dangerous in the cold weather.
The last step to take is to have a dedicated winter car kit for your vehicle, so you don’t have to go looking around the house when your car battery dies on a winter night. Some basic things to include are jumper cables, an ice scraper with a brush, warm clothes, and non-perishable snacks and drinks. You might also consider swapping out summer tires for winter tires if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow. Suppose you’ve done all this before the first snowflake falls; congratulations! You’re one step ahead of most people when it comes to dealing with winter.
If you haven’t done these things yet, don’t stress! There’s still time to get them all taken care of before winter sets in. Once the snow starts falling, your list might be a little bit longer than it is now (and that’s including the obvious keeping an eye on the weather and driving carefully).