I recently was walking down my street, in downtown Brooklyn, when suddenly I began to hear “Jingle Bells” playing from out of nowhere. It immediately occurred to me that winter is fast approaching, or at least people think it is. None-the-less, with winter comes my usual routine of preparing my vehicle for the cold, cold winter. Unfortunately, it then dawned on me that I do not have a vehicle in my possession…yet.
But since I can be a nice guy, most of the time, I’ll share a few tips. Here are my tips for winterizing you car.
“Get you car serviced if necessary”
This is tip applies to all seasons, not only winter. If your service interval is coming up, maybe your engines making a weird noise, or if there is smoke coming from your engine bay then it may be time to take the car in. Get the oil, any filters, and fluids changed and topped off. The winter won’t go easy on you or your car, so it’s best to take care of those things now than later. Plus, breaking down in the cold sucks.
“Add dead weight to the trunk”
This applies to all types of drives: 4WD, AWD, RWD, and FWD. Adding a little dead weight in the rear will improve stability. How much weight? Around 100lbs is good enough. Anymore will result in imbalance in weight distribution, as well as unnecessary momentum in the corners. So what kinds of weight? Anything heavy, and that will stay in one piece. A dead body will do fine, but the smell could be a problem…oh and it might be illegal (depending on where you live). If you’re a college student, text books work great. If your family eats a lot of rice, then bags of rice also work well. Just don’t over do it. You want enough to press the rear wheels a little bit more into the ground. Too much will compromise the suspension, which could result in hitting the tree that you just swerved to avoid.
“Flush your windshield washer lines”
In the summer time, it is common practice, or at least to me it is, to refill my washer fluid reservoir with water when I was my car. This is fine when the temperature stays above freezing. However, if it does fall below freezing, the water will freeze. Your plastic reservoir, fluid lines, and jets will get clogged and possibly crack. Not only is that an expensive fix, but also dangerous. The washers are necessary in the snow, especially when salt is used on the roads. So, take the time to flush any water out of the system or mix in some nice, high quality washer fluid. A dash of vodka also works magic.
Again, this applies to all seasons. Tires should be checked for bubbles, uneven wear, damage and pressure as often as possible. They take the brunt of the physics when dealing with cars. Now I’m not saying go and get a new set of tires, unless you really have to. I’m not saying get winter tires, chances are it’s not going to make that much of a difference. All I am saying is make sure your tires are in good health. Adjust the pressure accordingly by vehicles owners’ manual. Most cars have a different pressure for the wintertime, best to follow those guidelines.
Driving in general is unpredictable. You may get a flat, your battery may die, or your rear window may ice over. In which case, tools will be your best friends. Keep some basic tools in your trunk, like air compressors, jumper cables, ice scrapers, and pepper spray. Not only will these things assist you in emergencies, but also they will provide some dead weight. And who knows, you may be able to help someone else out too.