You rely on your car to get you safely from here to there. So, when temperatures drop, snow falls, and streets become slick, it’s even more important to make sure your car is road-ready.
The good news is that careful driving and good car maintenance can help you stay safer on the roadways this winter.
Safe driving starts here. Even if you have all-season tires, which offer some traction in mild winter conditions, they’re still not designed to grip in snow and slush. Winter tires, both studded and stud-less, are specifically designed to perform in cold, snowy conditions.
States vary in their rules regarding use of studded snow tires. Alaska permits tires with metal studs during some months of the year. Most western states, including Washington, California, and Arizona, allow studded tires, but with some restrictions; check your local regulations. And when you do switch tires, make sure to check the tire pressure.
You may also want to consider buying and carrying tire chains to help you navigate areas with deep snow. These aren’t a substitute for winter tires but provide extra traction when needed.
Good wiper blades are essential to good visibility, so make sure yours are in good condition. Winter blades are heavier and have a special protective coating that helps avoid slushy buildup. In cold months, use a wiper fluid that includes a deicer and check the levels regularly.
If you’re experiencing issues with your defroster, a clogged air filter could be the culprit. Clogged air filters prevent warm air from getting to the cabin, leaving you in the cold with a foggy windshield. Plus, dirty air filters pump dust and allergens into your vehicle.
Low-viscosity oils flow more smoothly, for more reliable engine starts in freezing weather. If you know how, you can change the oil yourself, or have a mechanic do it. Take this opportunity to also check belts, hoses, and cables, and top off the antifreeze.
Cold weather is hard on your car’s battery and having a car that won’t start on a frosty winter day can be a real inconvenience. Get both your battery and brakes checked before the weather turns frigid. A brake check is easy to schedule when you switch to winter tires.
Winter driving can be unpredictable. Keep emergency supplies in your trunk, including an ice scraper and brush, first aid kit, blanket, water, snacks, flashlight, hat, gloves, jumper cables, and a mobile phone charger. If you carry tire chains, toss in a small tarp to keep yourself dry when putting them on.
Your well-being is important to us. Smart winterizing steps can keep you safer and help you avoid costly car repairs.
While you’re at it, don’t miss this important step in winter driving preparedness! Make sure you have good car insurance. Have the team at Alaska USA Insurance Brokers check your car insurance needs to see if they can find you better coverage or rates. Get a quote today!
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