Is your car ready to handle freezing conditions? Frigid temps can take a toll on your car and make winter driving even more hazardous than usual. John Paul of AAA Southern New England, also known as “the Car Doctor,” shared a few tips to adapt to winter roads and preparing your car for the extreme cold.
Check the car’s battery
Check the car’s battery. Cold weather takes a toll on batteries and requires a full charge. According to AAA, a battery is 35 percent weaker at 32 degrees and 60 percent weaker at zero degrees. “A load test by a qualified technician can determine whether a car’s battery is strong enough for winter,” says Paul. “Keep in mind that if the car started with a jump start, the problem is not fixed and the battery most likely needs replacing.”
Starting. Avoid excessive cranking. If the car doesn’t start after 20 seconds of cranking, wait a couple of minutes to let the battery recover. Next
Tire preparation. Tires should have sufficient tread depth that can handle New England’s winter weather. All-season tires are adequate for most vehicles but to get the greatest traction for both starting and stopping, snow tires are recommended. When considering snow tires, they should be installed on all four wheels Next
See and be seen
See and be seen. Clear windows, mirrors, and lights with an ice scraper, brush, or a spray de-icer. Driving with a snow-covered windshield, windows, side-view mirrors or lights invites a crash. Completely clean snow from the roof, hood, and trunk. Windshield wipers and defrosters should be in good working order and washer reservoirs should be filled with no-freeze windshield washer fluid. Consider specially designed winter wiper blades that prevent snow and ice buildup and improve visibility. Next
Most winter crashes happen from driving too fast for the weather conditions, according to AAA. Remember, everything takes longer on snow-covered roads, including accelerating, stopping, and turning. Nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement so allow time to maneuver by driving slowly.
All-wheel drive is best
All-wheel drive is best. All-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive will help to get a car moving, but bear in mind it does little to improve braking. Don’t become overconfident and drive too fast for winter road conditions. Pictured: A Subaru Forester with all-wheel drive.
Anticipate stopping distance
Anticipate stopping distance. In temperatures at or just above 32 degrees, a thin layer of water can cover the ice and cause slippery conditions, especially at intersections where snow and ice tend to melt first. The distance needed to stop on ice at 32 degrees is twice as long as at zero degrees. Next
Keep the engine cool
Keep the engine cool. Mix certain cooling system antifreeze with an equal portion of water for maximum protection. Back to the beginning
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