Picture this: it's Christmas Eve and you are stranded on the side of the road in subfreezing temperatures. You are desperately trying to call for help, but everyone is at home with their families, sitting by the fire and drinking hot cocoa. Don't worry, Wrench is here to make sure this never happens to you. We often do not realize that our car is unprepared for cold weather until we find ourselves in trouble. Luckily, Wrench has compiled six tips to help your car be ready for whatever weather Mother Nature decides to throw at you.
- Check your tires. Inspect the treads on your tires to make sure they are fit for the cold (and potentially snowy) weather. You can check this by yourself by inserting a penny into the part of the tire where the tread looks the lowest (with Lincoln’s head going in first). If you can see Abe’s entire head, your tires most likely do not have the legal and safe amount of tread on them. We would recommend hiring a Wrench mobile mechanic to come install new tires on your vehicle. You will also want to check your tire pressure to make sure it is at the correct level. If you live in a place where it could snow, you may want to keep chains for your tires in the back of your car.
- Avoid driving on low fuel. In the instance that you do get stranded, the engine will be your only source of heat, and the engine only runs if you have gas in the tank. Although this is not the most eco-friendly solution and should be treated as a last resort, it, it is a good tip for staying warm while help is on the way.
- Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space. In the winter, we are tempted to start our car a few minutes before we leave the house so that it is toasty warm when we get in it. This is fine if your car is parked on the street or in the driveway, but it is unsafe to do so in an enclosed space like the garage. Doing so can put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Get regular check ups. It’s one thing if your car breaks down in July and you don’t mind hanging out in the sun for a couple of hours, but you would hate to break down in the dead of winter and risk turning into a human ice cube. It is a good idea to get a maintenance checkup from a Wrench mobile mechanic before the cold weather days even start - better to be safe than sorry! This includes checking the battery, and if it does need to get replaced, do not skimp out because you find one for cheap. You want your car battery to be your best friend, which means getting one that is reliable and dependable. Getting your cooling system checked will also benefit you down the road, because if there is anything wrong, it could fail to protect your vehicle in colder temperatures. Lastly, have great windshield wipers! Winter wipers have become very popular and are easy to take on and off as the seasons change.
- Make sure your defrosters work. The defrosters will be your savior when you are trying to navigate cold or snowy roads. If your system is broken in any way, you might as well be wearing a blindfold, so hire a mechanic to fix the problem if you are at all concerned.
- Be attentive. Just because you cannot see the ice does not mean it isn’t there. Avoid accelerating too quickly and keep your distance from the cars in front of you. Just because you are paying attention does not mean every other driver is paying attention as well. Practice defensive driving at all times, but especially in potentially hazardous weather conditions. Avoid using cruise control on slippery surfaces; this could cause your vehicle to accelerate and put you at greater risk.
It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Follow these Wrench tips and you will be ready to take on the cold weather season like a champ!