Winter is coming: Preparation is name of game for winter road trips
The cold winter months bring extreme weather, and therefore, extreme driving conditions. With snow, rain, sleet, ice and frost often coating the roads, the winter is not only a dangerous time to be on the road, but it can also cause serious wear and tear on your vehicle.
As we approach the winter months and the busy holiday road trip season, taking a few minutes to winterize your car to ensure a safe driving season is well worth the time and effort. Christian Brothers Automotive in Shawnee has put together a few reminders and safe driving tips for the colder months:
Leave yourself time for repairs
Two to four weeks before you leave on any holiday road trips, make sure you’ve taken care of any major car repairs. Automotive repair shops are busy prior to holiday travel so make sure you are on the schedule for your maintenance and/or needed repairs. Waiting to the last minute will cause more stress.
Check that battery
You should also do a battery check. Car batteries need to be replaced every few years. Have your battery checked to be sure the connection is tight, clean and free of corrosion. Don’t let a dead battery leave you stranded in frigid temperatures.
Check tire pressure!
One day before leaving, check tire pressure! Many vehicles have two recommended ratings: one for light loads and one for heavy loads and/or high speeds. If you’re taking the whole family, visit your local gas station and inflate the tires to the higher setting. You will find this information in the owner’s manual or on a sticker in the door jamb or fuel filler flap. The cold weather plays a part as well. While warm weather can overinflate your wheels, cold weather can deflate them.
Install winter gear
With all of the precipitation, winter wipers and snow tires may be a good investment. Make sure that your washer fluid will not freeze in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A common practice for the summer is to mix water with washer fluid so it will last longer. In Kansas winter months, you need pure washer fluid to with stand the freezing temperatures. Talk to your trusted auto repair shop about your specific needs.
Pack a winter emergency kit
Roadside emergencies are particularly scary during the cold and often dark winter months. Make sure your emergency kit includes a couple of blankets, a flashlight, portable phone charger, bottles of water and a few snacks.
You should also fill the gas tank before taking off. Gas is often more expensive on the road, and many gas stations may be closed on holidays. Filling up often and trying to keep your tank over half full can prevent gas line freeze ups in the frigid temperatures and leaves you with extra fuel to keep your car heated in case you do have to stop.
Winter driving doesn’t have to intimidate Kansas drivers. Taking some time to prepare your car before the first snow fall can set you up for a safe winter driving season and successful holiday road trips.
-Scott and Tammie Green own Christian Brothers Automotive in Shawnee, 22240 Midland Drive.