How To Extend The Life Of Your Car By Preparing For Winter

As the mercury starts to dip and the frost begins to appear, it’s time to get ready for another season of winter driving. Before the harsh weather makes its stance in earnest, there are a few things you can do to make sure your cold-weather driving goes as smoothly as possible. This is also a good time to take a realistic look at your current vehicle to decide if you think it’s willing and able to see you through another cold season or if it’s time to consider trading up. There are plenty of certified, quality used cars for sale out there that might require a lot less TLC to get them in shape for old man winter’s eventual arrival.

A car, just like a house, requires some special preparation before facing the rigors of a wet, freezing climate. Whereas home winterization efforts such as installing storm windows, sealing creaks and crevices and tuning up the furnace are undertaken primarily as energy-saving measures, a car winterization routine is more geared toward safety and performance. Here’s a brief checklist of things to consider before winter sets in:

  • Fluids – ensure all fluid levels are topped off and, if your maintenance schedule calls for it, drained and replaced. If your car’s radiator hasn’t been flushed within the past year, this is a good time to have that done, making sure your antifreeze/water mixture is proper for the temperatures normally experienced in your area. Other fluids to check include windshield washer fluid, battery fluid, transmission, brake and power steering fluid.
  • Lights – verify all lights are operational, including inside, backup, license plate and hazard lights.
  • Windshield Wipers – if wipers are more than a year old, it’s time to replace them. You’ll likely be needing good wipers more during winter than in any other season, and getting some that are especially for cold weather isn’t a bad idea either. Also check wiper fluid spray nozzles to make sure they’re unobstructed.
  • Tires – ensure your rubber has plenty of tread and, if you’re in an area where snow is common, it’s time to put on snow tires if you have them. It’s also important to regularly check tire pressure, as a change in the weather will often cause a loss of air pressure in any tires.

Although not related to safety specifically, a good wash and the application of some quality car polish will keep your ride looking good and prevent it from getting too beaten up in the fight against the harsh elements common with winter driving. By the way, if you’re looking at used cars for sale, it’s usually apparent whether or not the previous owner was the type who attended to these kinds of details because it shows. Happy motoring!

Browse Used Cars In New Jersey To Beat The Cold!

Jesse Dugan is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @JesseDugan.

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