Now that winter weather is here to stay in Wilmington, North Carolina, it’s time to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever the season holds. Is your car ready to tackle the tough conditions ahead? Check out our list of winter car maintenance tips to find out.
Car Maintenance Tips for a Safe Winter
Check the tires
The tires are the only points of contact your vehicle makes with the road. That’s why inspecting them is crucial to successful movement on ice and through snow and slush. Grab a penny and insert it into the middle of the tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head pointed toward the tire. If you see all of Honest Abe’s head, then the tread is too low, and the tire needs to be replaced.
During the chilly winter months, it’s best to check the tire pressure more often to ensure you have the correct amount of air as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Properly inflated tires help provide a smooth ride and optimal traction.
Top off the tank
Keeping your gas tank on the full side of the gauge serves two main purposes during the winter months. It can help prevent accumulated water from freezing inside the fuel pump, allowing the car to start up and respond when you press the accelerator. And if you become stranded on the side of the road, having enough fuel in the tank will let you run the engine to keep you and your passengers warm inside the cabin.
Test the battery
When the temperatures drop, your battery can be one of the first components to take a hit. A battery’s cranking power is reduced in cold temperatures, which means that if your car was tough to start during the summer, it may very well not start on a frigid morning.
If it’s been more than five years since it was replaced, the battery is defective, or it’s just worn down, it’s a good idea to replace it rather than waiting for it to completely die.
Pack an emergency kit
Packing an emergency kit in your trunk is an excellent way to protect yourself in the event of a breakdown. You can purchase one at a local store, or you can make your own. By stocking it with crucial items, you’ll be able to stay warm, signal for help, or get yourself back on the road.
Some items to include in your emergency kit are:
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
- Small shovel
- Bag of sand or kitty litter
- Bottled water and high-energy snacks