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Cars > robhardy’s Garage > Blog > 4 Ways to Save Your Automobile from Winter Mishaps

 

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robhardy

M –33
Reno, Nevada
United States

 

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4 Ways to Save Your Automobile from Winter Mishaps

By robhardy

Here's something that even the best drivers will tell you, "Winter is quite possibly the worst season to drive around". And car maintenance becomes even more crucial in the winters. The maximum numbers of road accidents take place during this time. In a place like Reno, winter with its biting cold, black ice, snow, sleet, sludge and snowstorm whiteouts can hamper your visibility and lead to fatal accidents. Other common winter mishaps that can damage your car include engine break down, tire pressure, windshield damage, low battery etc.

It is always better to prep your car from the coming winter seasons and avoid mishaps. Following are five of the easiest ways to get your car ready for the winter:

1. Engine check

Get your car engine checked and approved by your mechanic before you drive out in snow. Do this before the first fine flakes appear, because the things that you tend to ignore in the warmer months might turn worse in cold weather.

Following are a few things that you need to keep in mind to prepare your vehicle for this winter:

- Check the car belts and hoses. Though these parts are checked when you get the monthly service done, it's always good to get these checked before you venture out in the snow. The cold weather can weaken the hoses and belts. Also small cracks or cuts cause major mishaps if ignored for a long time.

- Check batteries. Winter months are harsh and put more pressure on your batteries. If it's time to replace your battery, its better you do it in the winter months. If you just replaced them, it's always good to check these for fraying and corrosion. Make sure your battery maintains the required level of fluids.

- Reduce oil viscosity. Oil tends to thicken at low temperatures. This might reduce the amount of oil flow to various parts of the engine, resulting in engine breakdown. All you need to do is consult your mechanic to use oil with less viscosity which will not thicken easily.

- Maintain the amount of antifreeze. It is important to check and maintain the amount of antifreeze in your engine. Antifreeze helps prevent your engine from freezing in winters and heating up in summers. It is important to maintain equal parts of water and antifreeze in your radiator, to prevent the fluids from freezing up in low temperatures. You can buy pre-mixed bottles of antifreeze from any gas station.

2. Check your tires

It is important to maintain your tires and prepare them for the winter blues. Some of the common mishaps occur when you try to slam the brakes as soon as you find your tires slipping on the ice. Avoid doing this. Take your legs off the accelerators and let the car slow down on its own.

- Installing anti lock brakes makes sense during winters. This will keep your car in control when applying brakes and avoid skidding.

- Another important aspect to be considered while checking your brakes is to check air pressure. Even if you have maintained the air pressure till now, winters can be a difficult time. As the temperature drops outside so does it inside the tire, which means the air will contract and reduce the air pressure. It's always recommended to keep check on your tire pressure more often as it tends to vary day and night in winters.

- If you live in a place where winters are especially hard, make sure you purchase a set of snow or winter tires that are particularly meant to have better balance, grip and traction.

3. Check your heating units and defrosters

Check your defrosting and heating units. The moisture in the car condenses, to form fog on your windscreens, which will hamper your visibility. Defrosters send out warm air to clear the fog and dry the glass. This will help you see clearly. So make sure the defrosters are working properly before you venture out in the snow. Sometimes, if the doors or windows are not properly closed, extra moisture comes in. This may fog up your windshields even more.

Another important car unit that needs to be checked is the heating components. You cannot think of going out in that freezing winter without a proper heating system. Make sure that the fluid levels are intact and there are no leaks or cracks in the heater coils. Make sure you check both of these units, the heaters and the defrosters so that you do not freeze behind the wheels!

4. Replace windshield and wipers if needed

A clear windshield is important when driving through the snow. Accumulation of snow and grit on the glass tends to reduce visibility. Avoid running your wipers on the snow covered windscreens as this may damage the screen. Most of the times the blade frames tend to accumulate dust and grit. This dirt sticks to the glass and hampers the driver's visibility. Consider replacing your wipers. These are made of rubber that might deteriorate in the long run and damage your glass mainly during winters.

One of the auto glass experts in Reno that I usually frequent suggested winters are the best month to get your windshields fixed because at low temperature the metal frames of the car contract and expand at a rate that the glass cannot handle. This pressure will cause the windshield to move out from its place causing major accidents.

Check your windshields for rusting or abrasion. Ignoring such deterioration can damage your windscreens forever and force you to make a replacement.

To end

Finally, make a visual inspection of your car and engine along with the regular tune-ups to ensure you do not get stuck in the snow. Keep your gas tanks full. If you wait till the last drop is used, you might end up getting stranded on the highway. Also make sure you get all the important repairs and replacements done as soon as the winter starts, as they might get worse later. Something else that I do is get my glass replacements done from only the best Reno auto glass specialists, if I think, there is some problem; this way in the winter I am sure my visibility remains unaffected because of windshield problems.

Also make sure you carry your emergency kit, before you decide to make a trip or drive out in snow. Include flash lights, an extra pair of warm clothes, engine oil and spare tire and tool kit, in your emergency kit.

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Cars > robhardy’s Garage > Blog > 4 Ways to Save Your Automobile from Winter Mishaps

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