While Baltimore winters are often mild, especially in December and January, there’s always the chance of an unpredicted snowstorm. Being ready for anything on the road is crucial, especially in freezing temperatures. To ensure your vehicle is roadworthy, take the following tips into consideration when preparing your vehicle for colder weather.
1) Schedule a Tune-Up
As fall winds down into winter, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle to the mechanic for a tune-up. They’ll inspect the vehicle’s brakes, cooling system, engine, exhaust system, heaters and defrosters, oil and filters, and tires to make sure you’re ready for the colder weather.
2) Take Care of the Battery
Your car’s battery capacity decreases significantly in cold weather. This is why it’s important to have a mechanic examine it to ensure it’s at its peak performance. If it’s not, your car could stall out, especially in the morning after it’s been sitting in the cold all night. If you schedule a maintenance appointment, be sure to ask about having your battery looked out. This isn’t always done without the request.
If you can, park your car in a garage during the winter months. This will protect your battery from the freezing cold. It’s also important to have jumper cables. If your car breaks down, you’ll be able to get a jump and get back on the road.
3) Check the Tire Pressure
As the air becomes colder, tire pressure can drop. If a tire is under-inflated, not only will the tread wear out faster, but you’ll have less traction to grip slippery conditions. Be sure to know what your tire pressure should be, which is measured in pounds per square inch. That information is typically found inside the driver’s door jam.
4) Replace Windshield Wipers and Fluid
Having a clear windshield is crucial in the wintertime. Driving through snow can significantly decrease visibility, which is why it’s a good idea to replace your vehicle’s windshield wipers before the first snow of the season, especially if you haven’t done so in a while.
It’s also important to note that not all windshield wiper fluid is the same. The fluid that’s used in the spring, summer, and fall is often useless in freezing temperatures because it freezes upon contact. Winter-specific wiper fluid is designed to help loosen ice and snow and keep things clear.
5) Build an Emergency Supply Kit
While it’s important to have an emergency supply kit in your vehicle all year long, there are certain additions to should make in the winter. Every kit should have a flashlight, road flares, emergency medical supplies, batteries, a phone charger, basic vehicle repair tools, drinking water, and high-energy snacks.
As the cold weather arrives, you should add a bag of sand for traction, an ice scraper and small shovel, a change of warm clothes, a few blankets, and winter clothing items like gloves and hats. In the event you get stranded in a snowstorm for any period of time, you’ll be able to wait it out until it’s safe to move forward. If you find yourself dealing with an accident relating to the colder weather, hiring an injury attorney will ensure you have the means to get back on your feet.
Even if there’s no snow on the ground, the coldest winter nights in Baltimore can still dip below zero. In order to maintain your vehicle’s health and safely arrive at your destinations, make sure you’ve prepared your vehicle for colder weather before temperatures start to drop.