The Coming Cold: Car Maintenance Reminders Before Icy Weather Hits

Woman cleaning snow from the car A cold is coming on, but it’s not the body that should prepare for it.

Online Auto Insurance (OAI) is talking about the coming cold weather season and car-related preparation tips so you can avoid hazards when driving in a winter wonderland.

Check out OAI’s first entry on the topic, which lists car insurance-related reminders for motorists to heed before winter comes.

A Car Maintenance Checkup

Cold weather means more than the daily morning shoveling of a driveway or scraping of a windshield (see poor lady in photo).

Allstate points out some other parts of the car, besides your windshield, that deserve a check in cold weather:

  • Oil: Check the oil and consider viscosity, which usually should be a thinner type of oil if “traveling through extremely cold, blustery conditions.”
  • Radiator: Coolant and antifreeze should be refilled and/or replaced.
  • Batteries: Check for rust and corrosion around the battery terminals.
  • Under the hood: Pop the top to check for fluid leaks as well as the condition of belts and hoses.
  • Tires: Tires should be reinflated in cold conditions.

Besides the safety of the vehicle itself, every driver should have an emergency kit stowed away in case disaster strikes. Cold weather means these things should be added to the kit:

  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Ice scraper
  • Extra-warm clothes
  • Chains
  • Non-clumping kitty litter

No, that last bit isn’t a typo. Kitty litter can help drivers out of snow banks they find themselves stuck in, though it has to be non-clumping (and won’t work like salt does when de-icing a driveway.)

How to Drive in the Cold

Esurance also offers a number of driving tips that will undoubtedly be useful when the cold takes hold of your car while on the road.

In the “Science of Skidding,” Esurance blogger Anthony Larsen offers three tips, nutshelled here:

  • Stay calm.
  • Ease off the gas.
  • Aim where you’re going.

Another Esurance blog entry reviews how to use snow chains.

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