The Richmond Auto Mall Blog

Nov 1, 2017

‘Tis The Season To Winterize Your Ride

9 Winter Driving Tips

Winter is on its way, and who knows what kind of weather it will bring. Thankfully, our experts have put together a checklist to help you winterize your ride. Preparing you for a safe and enjoyable season of winter driving is just one way we like to Share Good Carma.

Make sure your car’s performance, and your safety and comfort, aren’t at risk this winter by following the helpful tips below.

1. Time For A Check-Up

Before it gets too frosty out there, we recommend getting your vehicle serviced to prepare it for the cold conditions. Examine your brakes and steering and check all lights and fuses. You should also get your vehicle’s heating, electrical, and exhaust systems looked at, too. Better safe than sorry!

2. Check That Antifreeze

Antifreeze, or coolant, is the important liquid that keeps your engine from freezing. Usually, the coolant to water ratio should be 50/50, but in the winter, they recommended ratio is 60/40. Check the levels of your coolant to ensure your vehicle is prepared to combat the cold winter temperatures ahead. Most auto parts stores carry inexpensive antifreeze testers that are quick and easy to use, just make sure you dispose of your antifreeze properly when doing so.

3. Change Your Oil

While it is always important to maintain your vehicle’s health and performance with oil changes, it’s especially important to do so during the winter months. Schedule an oil change now to prepare for freezing temperatures. Your car may also benefit from a winter grade oil that has a lower viscosity and is designed for optimal performance during the cold. Check your owner’s manual or ask us what kind of oil is right for your car.

4. Replace or Test Your Battery

Is your battery more than three years old? If so, it’s a good idea to change it. If not, having it tested is quick and often free with seasonal maintenance check-up packages. Check it now to avoid getting stuck with a dead battery in -10 ºC weather. While at it, check your cables for cracks, too.

5. Windshield Wipers

Get ready for rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. Having clear visibility while driving is key to keeping you and your family safe. Replace windshield wipers if they’re old (all wipers are due for replacement after 18-24 months), and consider getting a pair of sturdy, winter-weather wiper blades. As for your wiper fluid, cold weather calls for special fluid that won’t freeze on your windshield. Winter wiper fluid will also help loosen ice and snow from your windshield, so it’s worth making the switch.

6. Switch To Winter Tires

When the weather is questionable and snow fills the streets, having good winter tires on your vehicle will make a huge difference. When temperatures drop, tires harden and have less traction. A rule of thumb to remember is if it’s 7 degrees or less out there, then it’s time to change your tires. Winter tires with good tread depth will ensure more traction and better handling of your vehicle on icy roads. Don’t forget to also check your tire pressure. In colder weather, PSI naturally drops, so keep an eye on it.

7. Put Down Floor Mats

With snow and ice comes salt, and nobody likes the look of awful salt stains. Protect the carpeting on the floor of your vehicle with winter floor mats. They’ll provide the most coverage and catch the snow you bring into your vehicle with you. Another tip is to fully dry them out indoors a few times throughout the winter. If you’re waking up to hard frost on the inside of your windshield and windows, drying out your mats to remove all the excess moisture will help.

8. Gas Up

During the winter, keep your gas tank topped up. Maintaining a gas tank that’s at least half full at all times will help avoid condensation and moisture build up inside the tank that can cause freezing issues. Plus, carrying fuel in the tank means more weight to improve your vehicle’s traction and stability.

9. Pack A Winter Survival Kit

This is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family’s personal safety. Having a box full of winter supplies in your trunk can make all the difference if something goes wrong, especially if you’re planning long trips. Some other things you should add to your emergency supply kit include a flashlight, road flares, a first-aid kit, blankets, a radio, and high-energy snacks. Don’t forget to also pack your car with an ice scraper and snow brush… or two!

We hope our tips help prepare you for a safe and warm season of winter driving. We suggest you Share Good Carma by passing these tips along to your friends and family, too. Happy driving!