Extreme weather is one of the biggest causes of road accidents. In the United States alone, extreme weather accounts for 22 percent of all life-threatening road incidents. It’s imperative that car owners start prepping for harsh weather at least four weeks before the cold season goes into full swing. After all, not everyone’s vehicle can be a powerhouse able to withstand extreme cold. These are the three big things that you need to tend to to get your vehicle geared up for extreme weather season.
Checking Your Car Engine and Battery
Whether you’re dealing with snow, hail, or frigid torrential rain, the first thing you want to do is to get your car in a garage and out of the cold. Cold slows down the chemical activity in the battery, making it lose charge and giving your engine that annoying, endless chugging when you try to start it. To further protect against engine failure, make sure to pack jumper cables; or better yet, a portable jumpstart kit so you can bring your own engine back to life independently.Next, you’ll want to look at maintenance.
Cars are most physically taxed when they’re in extreme conditions, so to prepare for that you need to make sure it’s in top shape. The most important things you need to get checked are the coolant system and the thermostat, as they’re the ones that get affected by cold temperatures the most. If you aren’t getting regular maintenance already, go get a checkup and prepare to replace any part that turns out to be in shaky condition.
Balance Tire Pressure and Traction
Tire pressure drops 1 PSI for every temperature drop of 10 degrees (Fahrenheit ). Hence, it’s critical that you check your tire pressure before every trip out in extreme cold. There are handy handheld pressure gauges available in most department stores. Different cars have different PSI recommendations, and you check what the manufacturer recommends for your car on the sticker on the driver’s door jamb.
When it comes to traction, winter tires are absolutely mandatory for extreme weather conditions. However, it is important to understand that they will still be at risk of slipping on severely ice-covered roads. As for roads that are often snowed-over, you’ll want to look into skid steer tracks you can fit onto your car’s wheels. Tracks provide far more traction than any tires, and will even allow your vehicle to travel off-road in extreme weather.
Don’t Skip the Vehicle’s Exterior and Peripherals
The first thing you’d want to pay attention to when tending to the exterior of your car is wax application. Applying wax protects a car from getting damaged by all the road salt and dirt that can get kicked up while driving. When applying wax, the most important parts to pay attention to are in the lower region of your vehicle, such as the front grille, wheels, and quarter panels. In addition to waxing the car body, you’d also do well to check the brake lights, headlights, windshields, and wiper blades.
Simply apply the recommendations for these three areas of your car, and you’ll fare well on wintry conditions, however frigid the air and snow-slicked the roads. Stay warm and drive safely.