Our cars are designed to operate well in all kinds of weather, but sometimes they need a little help. Sometimes, we have to give our vehicles some TLC to ensure they can be reliable. These are some ways you can modify, fortify, and prepare your car so that it’s ready for winter.
1. Switch To Winter Tires
The tires are the first area you should consider when preparing your car for winter. They are your car’s pivotal foundational parts, playing a huge role in stabilizing your vehicle.
Various types of tires exist, and some will get your car ready for winter better than others. If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice, you’ll need tires with a directional tread pattern or studs. These tires will provide you with the traction necessary to prevent slipping, or they will cut into the snow or ice to keep you grounded.
Studless snow tires are appropriate for winter weather as well. They may not have spikes, but they are crafted of a special rubber compound that allows them to grip the road when you accelerate or brake.
It’s best to have your mechanic change your tires shortly before the winter starts so that you’ll have the protection you need all year round. You can switch back to your previous tires when the winter winds down.
All-season tires can work well for you if you want to avoid changing your tires back and forth. They are designed to perform well during all four seasons and can give you a fair amount of traction in the winter. All-season tires with the 3PMSF symbol are said to be much more equipped for snowy situations than others. Thus, it will help if you actively search for a brand with that rating.
The price of tires can vary significantly, depending on where you purchase them and what discounts are available. One tire can cost over $100 or as much as $500. The cost of a roadside tire change can vary, too, so you need to do your research.
2. Turn to a Local Muffler Repair Shop
A bad muffler and cold weather do not mix well. You might experience trouble starting your car or numerous stalling situations if you let a problem like that go on after the seasons change. Therefore, you must address any issues with your muffler long before the winter months start.
Signs of a faulty muffler include strange vibrations, rattling noises, and ‘check engine’ light illumination. You may also notice strange smells or experience low overall performance. You’ll likely get much worse gas mileage than you would normally get, too.
Furthermore, muffler holes can cause your car’s engine to sound like a motorcycle. That may seem extra cool, but it’s not good for emissions or performance.
A local muffler repair shop can help you get your exhaust system in line with regulations and ready for winter. They might recommend that you replace your entire muffler, or they may offer to repair your current one. Finding the best deal for yourself might take a little research and patience. You might gain access to special deals if you’re a first-time customer of the muffler shop and agree to complete a credit card application.
You can also search for budget muffler repair shops. These shops charge a little less than others for their work on mufflers and other exhaust parts. You may want to consider contacting one of those places for more information about their services and products.
Getting a semi-truck ready for winter is much more challenging than getting a regular car ready. You’ll need to find a reliable semi truck repair shop with the equipment and skills to care for your vehicle. Common winterization practices for semi trucks include diesel treatments and coolant top-ups.
It’s important to use ‘semi truck’ as a search term when looking for the contact information for providers. If you do that, you’ll uncover a list of shops in your area. The rest is going through the motions and finding the place that best fits your needs.
4. Secure Roadside Assistance Services
Many companies offer roadside assistance services to distressed drivers. The winter time is not a time when you want to be stranded on the highway with no help. As such, you’ll need to be proactive and start looking for roadside assistance services to get yourself and your car ready for winter.
Various providers have roadside assistance plans. Their members usually pay once a year or once a month and receive a certain number of ‘rescues’ each year. The most common rescue service available is flat tire replacement. Agents will drive out and install a donut for drivers who experience blowouts on the highway.
These plans also have fuel fill-up services attached to them. Members who run out of gas can receive enough fuel to get their vehicles to the nearest gas station. The service can be a lifesaver for someone with a broken fuel gauge or a driver who forgot to stop at a rest stop.
Battery jumps are available in most roadside assistance packages. Specialists will come to a member’s car and attempt to jump-start their battery with a high-power jump box. The driver should then be able to make it home and charge their battery further by driving the vehicle.
Sometimes, all attempts to get a car in working condition will fail. Roadside rescue plans also offer members the option to have their cars towed to the nearest automotive repair shop when that happens.
Roadside assistance services vary in pricing, depending on which company you select. You can perform an internet search and compare providers in your area to get the most reasonable plan. Be sure to ask how many rescues are available each year and how many miles they cover when towing vehicles.
5. Find Good Used Car Parts
You won’t want to experience too much downtime in the winter, but you never know when problems arise. It might be a good idea to get ahold of some discount used auto parts stores and salvage yards just in case you have to replace something crucial to your car’s operation during the winter. For example, you might need to replace HVAC parts that keep your heater running well.
When choosing a provider for used parts, you should always do research. You’ll need to look at the reviews consumers leave for such places to ensure they offer quality parts. Check the website of any company you are considering using and see if they offer warranties for their parts. It would be helpful if they offer warranties to provide at least 30 days of protection to their customers for any parts they buy.
Original equipment manufacturer parts are the most effective ones to buy, but a reliable aftermarket provider can still offer you quality parts. Find a good place to go for all your parts if you want to get ready for winter.
6. Keep a Spare Tire on Hand
Most people with non-electric vehicles have a donut in their trunk that the manufacturer provided. While those donuts can help in extreme emergencies, they aren’t the best option for breakdowns during winter months. You can get ready for winter by locating a reliable automotive tires shop and getting yourself an extra rim and tire.
That way, if you lose your tire and damage your rim on the road, you can replace it with a set equipped to handle harsh road conditions. All you’ll need to do is have someone change it for you, and you’ll be good to go for 50,000 miles or more.
Finding the best tire shop takes the same work and effort as anything else. You’ll need to gather names, visit the websites to research, and read consumer reviews. Choose a provider who has high-quality tires and is flexible with pricing.
Some retail tire locations offer their customers payment plans that allow them to pay for new tires and rims in installments. You might want to look into that to give yourself the most favorable deal.
7. Have Your Vehicle Inspected at a Car Repair Shop
The best time to take your vehicle to a car repair shop to have it inspected is right before winter starts. The smart move is to have a certified mechanic look over the entire vehicle and recommend services, so you can get ready for winter. For example, the technician might recommend doing an oil change and putting a lower-viscosity oil in it. That oil will be much thinner than what you currently use and much less prone to freezing or causing you performance issues. Alternatively, your mechanic might suggest you convert to synthetic oil.
A cooling system treatment might be what you need to get ready for winter, too. You need the right type of antifreeze in your car to prevent freezing, and you also need it for your heating system to work properly. So maybe your technician can change your coolant.
You’ll also want to have this person check fluids, wiper blades, tire condition, spark plug wellness, etc. Once you get the automotive shop’s green light, you can proceed with your winter driving as usual.
8. Find an Auto Wheel Repair Service
Now is the time to get ready for winter by performing all necessary auto wheel repair service. For instance, don’t wait until the dead of winter to get a flat repair done on a tire with a slow leak. Please take it to an automotive shop now or consider replacing the tire. Tire repair services are typically inexpensive, and your local repair shop will most likely be willing to do them for you as long as the hole isn’t near the sidewall.
9. Practice Driving
Even if you have the best car parts and tires, you might not be 100% ready for winter. A large portion of automobile accidents occur because of driver errors. Thus, it might be time for you to take some refresher driving courses and practice driving on the road with winter conditions in mind.
You’ll need to know how to keep the right amount of distance between yourself and other drivers. You’ll also need to know how to switch lanes properly and make defensive moves when unforeseen circumstances arise. Take some time to go out on the road every day and test your skills. You’ll be glad you put a little time into relearning.
10. Increase Your Car Insurance Coverage
Another thing you’ll want to consider doing to get ready for winter is increasing your car insurance coverage. It would be a wise move since accidents are more likely to occur during winter. Thus, checking your current coverage and making necessary changes will be a smart move on your part.
Increasing your collision coverage will help. You may want to do that just in case you have an accident or incident. Decreasing your deductible can be a lifesaver if an incident occurs. You may also want to check with your insurance company if they offer a roadside assistance add-on.
We talked about getting roadside assistance coverage from third parties, but some insurance companies have their own plans their customers can add for a slight increase in their premiums. Take the time to look at your current policy and ensure you have everything you desire for the winter months.
11. Change Your Windshield Wipers
The windshield wipers are perhaps the most crucial part of your car. They provide you with the clarity that you need while on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers find out they are not ready for winter when they get into a rain or snowstorm and can’t see well enough to navigate the road. You can prevent this by having your windshield wipers checked during your next visit to an auto shop of any kind. The cost to replace wipers is not excessive; it only takes a technician a few minutes to change them. Do yourself a favor, and don’t get caught out there with bad wipers. Get ready for winter before it strikes by scheduling an appointment with a provider who can help today.
You are now equipped and ready to get your car ready for winter. Go through the list provided and explore each area of improvement so that you can be ready for the most challenging season of the year.