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5 Great Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Published on October 13th, 2021 by The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm

We all knew this day would come, winter is only weeks away, and there’s nothing we can do about it! It could snow any day now. In fact, in 2019, Illinois saw a full-scale snowstorm in October with several inches of snow. The time to prepare your car for winter weather is now. Preparing your car for winter is a smart preventative precaution to avoid car accidents and injuries caused by winter weather.

Here are 5 tips to prepare your car for winter in Illinois.

1) Tire Maintenance

Tires pressure reacts to the cold weather and starts to deflate once temperatures are in the low thirties. The wrong tire pressure makes it harder to control your car, which is the last thing you need while driving in poor weather conditions. Aside from your car being harder to control, low tire pressure also means lower gas mileage and it can wear on your tires. Make sure your tires have proper pressure by purchasing a tire pressure gauge for approximately $7. It’s an inexpensive purchase for peace of mind.

Also, you should consider getting winter tires. Some of you may have a car with four-wheel drive or sport mode, but these modes are useless if your tires can’t perform. Snow tires prevent skidding and allow you to stop inches shorter. This could be the difference between you rear-ending someone or not. In extreme cases it could save your life.

Checking that your tires are in fare shape and still have their threading could also help you maintain control of your car on icy roads. Even if your car tires look fine, to be proactive, rotate your wheels if they haven’t been in a while. Rotating the tires evens out the wear on them so you can use them for longer.

 

2) Get Your Brakes Checked

Is that squeaking sound normal? Better get them evaluated before winter! Winter has days that are wet with snow, causing moisture, which leads to rust and can damage your brakes. Plus, salted roads can cause further destruction to your brakes. The salt can be kicked up by vehicles and settle in the brake gears causing erosion and eventually brake failure.

Consider not only getting the brakes checked before winter, but midseason or soon after as well. We all rely heavily on our brakes during the winter, so let’s make sure they are in tip-top shape for the cold season ahead!

Although this isn’t a tip to prepare your car for winter it still needs to be said. Remember that during icy conditions, slamming on the brakes may make your car skid. Pumping your brakes is safer and more effective. If you do skid, turning your vehicle into the spin is the fastest way to regain control of your car.

 

3) Give Your Car the Right Fluids

Brake fluid keeps your bake lines lubricated and ensures everything is working as it should. Brake fluid is freeze-resistant on its own. In fact, it doesn’t start to freeze until -40 degrees. So, what’s the problem? Your brake lines can crack in the freezing temperatures, which exposes the brake lines to water seeping into the system. Water freezes at 32 degrees.

Freezing water in your brake lines can infiltrate the integrity of your brake fluid which can in-turn degrade your brakes. Have your brake lines examined for structure soundness and ask the mechanic to check your brake fluid to confirm it has not been compromised by the presence of water.

Washer windshield fluid, unlike brake fluid, can freeze completely. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is by purchasing windshield fluid that is freeze resistant. Freeze resistant washer windshield fluids contain antifreeze and alcohol. Windshield fluid helps de-ice windows so it’s a prime necessity in the winter. Visibility is imperative to safe driving.

 

4) Check on Your Battery

Let’s imagine you are on a road trip to your grandmother’s house and currently in the middle of nowhere. Oddly, your car starts to slow down and then completely dies. Although it’s rare, it is possible for your battery to die while driving your car! Terrifying, isn’t it?

Being stuck in the cold waiting for a tow could be life threatening in the winter, especially as we continue to see more and more extreme weather (think Polar vortex!). Cold weather adds to the strain put on your battery, so if your battery is close to kicking the bucket, the chances it happens during the winter are strong. Getting your battery checked and replaced before cold weather arrives in Illinois is a smart preventative of a future headache.

 

5) The Details!

To prepare your car for winter there are big things to get checked, but there are also small things you can do yourself that make a big difference if you’re in a bind. First, make sure you get new windshield wipers for your car if needed. Old windshield wipers smear snow which inhibits your vision as you drive. You should be able to switch them out yourself, and if you’re struggling there’s tutorials online to help you along the way!

Also consider purchasing an ice scraper to keep in your car and some spare blankets just in case your heat stops working or you’re stranded. Remember if you are in car accident, afterwards you may need to turn off your engine and wait for the police. Blankets come in handy then. Last, but not least, equip your car with a first aid kit, and jumper cables!

 

Winter may not be everyone’s favorite season, but taking these steps to prepare your car for winter can make it hurt a little less!

In the unfortunate circumstance that you or a loved one gets into a car accident this winter please reach out to the Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm for a free case assessment.

 

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