Tips for Winterizing Your Vehicle - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Nov 12, 2019

Tips for Winterizing Your Vehicle

Annually over 116,800 people are injured in car accidents on snowy or icy roads, and each year more than 800 winter weather car crashes result in fatality. If these facts say anything to you, it should be how dangerous it can be to drive on winter roads. While it’s important that you prepare yourself for driving on these roads, it’s just as important to prepare your vehicle. 

These tips can help you to winterize your vehicle: 

1. Have your vehicle tuned up by a professional 

Fall is a great time to get started on your winterization. After all, winter is right around the corner! Make some time to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a professional tune-up before the cold weather hits. Be sure to ask them if your battery is winter-ready! 

2. Purchase snow tires 

All season tires aren’t going to cut it on snow- and ice-covered roads. Upgrade to snow tires and save yourself the stress and white-knuckles. Snow tires are made with a different material that adjusts as the temperature changes to keep the tread consistent; whereas your standard or all-season tire will harden in cooler temperatures, thus resulting in less traction. Another benefit of snow tires is the deeper and different patterned tread. The combination of these two features make snow tires well-worth the investment! 

3. Swap out your standard windshield wipers for winter wipers

Your standard windshield wipers are great for half of the year, but they aren’t designed to push heavy snow and ice from your windshield like winter wipers are. Purchasing a pair of winter wipers will help you keep your windshield clear in the toughest conditions. Be sure to swap back to your traditional wipers as the weather warms up. Winter wipers are not meant to be used year-round as they put added stress on your wiper’s motor. 

4. Adjust your vehicle’s fluids for winter-grade fluids

The fluids used in your vehicle outside of the winter season are more likely to freeze. To be safe and help ensure everything works correctly, plan to swap fluids for those designed to withstand below-freezing temperatures. 

5. Pack your vehicle with all the snow removal tools you might need

Just think about driving behind a vehicle that wasn’t cleaned of snow and ice –  when that flies off  it cuts down on your visibility  – not to mention how hazardous it can be! A sheet of ice hitting your windshield at 60mph could do some damage to your car. To prevent the damage and danger that this could cause, be sure to always clear your vehicle as completely as possible of snow and ice. Keep de-icer and a good snow brush readily available in your vehicle during the winter months. Your vehicle’s battery is challenged a little bit more in the winter months – keeping jumper cables or a jump pack on hand is especially important! 

6. While you’re at it, pack up your car safety kit with some winter must-haves

Your vehicle should always have a car safety kit in it. Once you have your kit there are a few winter-specific items that could be helpful to have on hand in case of an accident or issue in the winter months. Some things you should consider keeping in your car for the winter months include: an extra jacket, gloves, hat, boots, and socks, sand (or kitty litter), and a shovel! You never know when you’ll get stuck in a snow bank or on some ice and you might need a shovel and sand to help get you out of it! 

7. Proactively treat your vehicle’s interior and exterior 

Undercoating is a great way to prevent salt erosion on the underbody of your vehicle from the winter months, but automatic car washes are another great precautionary and maintenance resource. You might even consider purchasing new interior mats to help prevent salt from collecting and damaging your vehicle’s interior carpeting. 

8. Learn to drive in winter weather conditions 

Although all these factors play an important role in safe winter travel, one of the biggest factors is patience. You should start by determining if travel is necessary. Try to cut back on trips whenever possible in the winter. Driving in snowy and icy conditions takes more time than the average commute, and it’s important that drivers allot for it. Braking and accelerating should be smooth and gentle, as should steering. Be careful not to panic or oversteer – especially on ice! Be sure to signal and begin slowing well-in-advance. 

Driving in winter weather conditions is no simple feat. The statistics speak for themselves! Prepare yourself and your vehicle ahead of time to help ensure your vehicle is winter-weather ready!