Texas weather can be unpredictable during any season, and inclement winters can be particularly hazardous on both drivers and their vehicles. Whether you are taking a long road trip or running last-minute errands around town, keeping your car properly serviced and preparing for potential driving hazards can help to keep your family safe this holiday season.
Winter Weather Driving Checklist
Make sure your family’s vehicle is ready for the winter season by checking the following:
- Have your oil checked and changed. No matter the season, it is important to stay current on your vehicle’s oil changes, but winter temperatures can thicken the oil, which may solidify in your engine.
- Check your windshield wipers for cracking or splitting. If your windshield wiper starts to streak it’s time to replace them.
- Top off your wiper fluid, as well. Certain brands are specifically formulated to help keep your windshield clear in colder temperatures by helping to break up ice or frost. You may also choose to treat your car windows with a rain-repelling product in order to improve your visibility while driving.
- Check your brakes by listening for any squeaking or grinding noises that may indicate worn pads and shoes.
- Check your battery condition. Look for cracks in the cables and any corrosion on the terminals. Be aware of the manufacture date for the battery, this is a good indicator of when the battery will begin to lose charge.
- Check your tire pressure. Rapid changes in temperatures can affect the rubber in tires, with colder weather reducing your tire’s PSI. Your owner’s manual will tell you the ideal pressure, or your vehicle may have a sticker on the frame of the driver’s side door that indicates the necessary PSI. Don’t forget to check your spare tire as well.
- Make sure your tire tread depth is safe, as well. Good treads mean good traction while driving on icy roads. The fastest and easiest way to check your treads is to insert a penny into several locations on your tire. If you can see all of honest Abe’s head or the Lincoln Memorial, it is time to get new tires. Again, it is important to check your spare tire, too.
- Check your headlights and tail lights to make sure that they are functioning properly. If your lights appear foggy or grimy you can polish the plastic with a clean rag and some toothpaste. Simply squeeze a dab of toothpaste onto the rag, buff it into the light until the plastic begins to look clear again, and then rinse it clean with water.
- Pack an emergency kit to keep in your car in case you get stranded due to the weather. This should include a first-aid kit, blanket, flashlight, road maps, non-perishable food, bottles of water, an ice scraper, flares, and jumper cables. If you regularly travel with small children, consider adding an activity book to keep them calm and entertained if you have to pull off the road.
This winter you may not always be able to rely on the weather to be consistent or predictable, but taking the time to prepare your family’s vehicles for cold weather driving can reduce your chances of having a roadside emergency in unpleasant weather.
Practicing safe driving habits when roads are at their worst can also help keep you and your family a little bit more worry-free as you go about your holiday travels and errands. Start planning for Texas winter weather and schedule an appointment with Dillon’s today.