As Carolinians know, the bitter cold that can accompany the months of January and February can appear out of nowhere. During these winter months, it is essential that motorists take the steps necessary to prepare their vehicles for the drop in temperature.
A sudden cold front can be detrimental to tires and batteries.
AAA advises drivers to:
- Check the battery: “Cold weather is hard on batteries,” the auto club says. At 32 degrees, freezing temperature, the battery is 35 percent weaker than in higher temperatures. AAA says a qualified technician can do a battery load test to figure out a battery’s strength before the cold hits.
- Check the tires: Behind the Wheel believes this is advice for all seasons. AAA says make sure tires are properly inflated and look for wear on the tire tread.
- Check the windshield wipers, fluid and defroster: “Driving with a wet, snow- or ice-covered windshield invites a crash,” AAA says. Check those windshield wiper fluid reservoirs, too.
- Check the engine coolant system: Mix the antifreeze with an equal amount of water for best protection. An auto shop can check the level of protection with a hydrometer.
- Pack an emergency car kit: Again — all seasons. AAA adds: “A winter emergency car kit should contain a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, general first aid kit, tire chains, blanket, extra set of clothes, non-clumping kitty litter for traction, flares or reflective triangles, cell phone with extra batteries, gallon jug of water, non-perishable food items, window washer solvent, ice scraper, snow brush and shovel.″
- De-icing: Ice buildup can freeze your car doors shut. If you find yourself in that situation, don’t use hot water. You’ll melt the ice but leave behind more water to freeze later. Use de-icer spray instead but remember – prevention is the key. When it’s dry outside, wipe down the door seals and spray the gaskets with silicone to prevent freezing.