Maximizing the longevity of your vehicle has a lot to do with how you prepare and maintain it during that time. Living and driving in Texas and bordering states doesn’t always protect you and your vehicle from ice and snow.
Creating and following a “Preparing your Car for Winter checklist” could help you avoid a collision on icy roads. Or, at the very least — it will reduce costs like fuel and tire replacements. Not to mention how it can reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.
Here are five reasons for getting your car ready for winter and the steps you can take to address this seasonal issue.
1. Winter Storms are Unpredictable
You may remember the winter storm of February 2021. It claimed over two hundred lives and left two-thirds of Texans without power. In states that aren’t as equipped with snow plows and sanding and salting trucks, vehicle owners often must ensure their vehicle is fitted and tuned to handle hazardous driving conditions.
No matter what compels you to venture out on the roads during (or after) an unexpected winter storm, getting your car winterized is crucial to your safety and that of your passengers. Get your brakes checked and serviced along with your vehicle’s radiator, heater and emissions systems. The life you save or the injury you prevent could be your own or one of your loved ones.
2. Treacherous Driving Can Spoil a Vacation
You may be a snowboarding, skiing, or apres-skiing enthusiast and enjoy road trips to the mountains of Colorado, Montana, or Utah. To ensure safe journeys to and from the slopes, you must ensure safe tire tread depth for winter driving. Use a tire tread gauge (or learn to use a quarter if you don’t have a gauge handy) to ensure your tires are at least 5/32 of an inch deep.
Skidding off the road due to worn-out or under-inflated tires can ruin a vacation and jeopardize your safety and those around you. Take the time to check your tires and spare before venturing out for any road trip. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure for the winter months. Cooling temperatures drive tire pressure down a couple of pounds for every ten degrees Celsius. Even though you’re not an avid fan of the metric system, it’s worth topping up your tires with air when Jack Frost arrives in your area.
3. Top Up Your Fuel Tank and Charge Your Battery
Even with innovations in fuel injection systems, battery technology, and electric vehicles, frigid temperatures can make starting your car or truck challenging. Experts recommend having at least half a fuel tank in vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). It prevents moisture from collecting in the tank and your fuel lines.
Ensuring your ICE vehicle battery is in good mechanical shape and cables are snugly connected is crucial. Cold temperatures generally reduce electric vehicles (EV) range. Ensure your budget has more than enough charge “juice” before setting off for your destination.
4. Optimize Your Visibility and Clear Your Sensors
You are running late for work or to get your children to school. If you are tempted to clear just enough frost or fog from your windshield, back, and side windows to see until your car warms up — think again. Take the time to clear your windows. Check your wiper fluid, blades, and arms to ensure they can remove any ice or debris that might accumulate during your drive. Windshield cracks and stone chips should be addressed as soon as possible, as they can become a serious safety issue.
While clearing snow from your windows, ensure your vehicle’s blindspot sensors and others are clear of snow and ice. Once you are accustomed to being warned about nearby vehicles, you can become complacent and get into an accident due to blocked sensors. The few minutes you invest in clearing your car can help keep your insurance rates down, your vehicle damage free, and your driving record pristine.
5. A Clean Car Goes a Long Way
You may not think driving your Ford Escape, or F150 covered in snow, road salt, or sand will impact your vehicle’s well-being. Yet moisture, salt, and dirt contribute to the corrosion and erosion of your vehicle’s body integrity. Gritty sand and coarse debris from your boots and pets cause damaging wear and tear to your vehicle’s interior.
Getting your vehicle professionally detailed or minor collision repairs completed (such as paint scratches, loose moldings, or cracked light housings) may seem like an unnecessary investment in the short term. Yet they can protect your vehicle from corrosion and excess wear over the long term.
Is your vehicle in dire need of mechanical or aesthetic maintenance as the winter months approach? Contact us for certified maintenance with high-quality, genuine Ford parts, service, and after-market accessories to make your vehicle winter-ready.