Winter is just around the corner in New England, which means it's time to gear up for some not-so-fun driving conditions. While you can't control the weather, there is a lot you can do to be prepared for whatever comes your way. So, let's go over the essential maintenance tips and driving strategies to follow as you get ready for some stormy road conditions ahead. We may have written about some of these in the past, but you can never be too safe with winter driving:
- Tires, tires, tires. That doesn't just mean getting winter tires, either. According to Kiplinger, your tires will lose one pound of pressure for every 10-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature. That significantly reduces each tire's ability to "bite" through the snow to grip the pavement, which could have similar effects to hydroplaning, never a good thing. You may also want to consider getting four snow tires if you can (especially if you have all-wheel drive). If you're worried about price, even having two snow tires could be an enormous help.
- Make sure your wipers are new and windshield washer fluid is full. If you've driven during the winter, particularly during snowfall, you know how much visibility can be affected and how easily your windshield can get dirty. That's why getting new wipers and keeping your windshield wiper fluid full ensures you'll have optimal vision no matter what weather conditions come your way.
- Keep your engine oil filled and check your antifreeze before the temperatures drop. Your radiator coolant should have a 50/50 split between water and antifreeze. If your car is on the newer side, chances are your coolants are fine. If it's not, or if you want to be on the safe side, you can always stop by any local service center, such as the one at our Greater Boston Toyota Dealership, to make sure. You can never be too cautious!
- Don't let your gas tank get too low! Many people like to wait until the gas light comes on before filling their tanks, but you're playing with fire if you do that during the winter. As Total Automotive explains: "Condensation of moisture in the air in the gas tank causes an accumulation of water," which eventually "settles to the bottom of the tank." If that moisture freezes, it could block the fuel flow and prevent the engine from starting.
- Always plan for the worst. Even if you do all the proper pre-planning and incorporate best driving practices on the road, you simply never know what could happen. It's never a bad thing to carry a few essentials just in case: a shovel, a snow brush/ice scraper, a fully charged cell phone, warm clothing and a blanket, and so on and so forth.