10 Ways You Can Help Your Car Survive a Michigan Winter
If you are starting to notice the colder weather, we are betting your car is too. And it’s never a good idea to be driving your vehicle around in a Midwest winter if you haven’t had the preventative maintenance or car care checks recommended by professionals in the automotive service industry. Having routine cold weather maintenance done before the single digit temperatures hit can not only help improve minor car issues but also prevent you from being involved in a serious or fatal car wreck due to them.
While there is no way to fully protect yourself from winter driving accidents, especially if other drivers are careless on the roads, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk in winter weather. The Michigan auto accident attorneys at the Offices of Lee Steinberg are providing these easy precautions for you to take to increase the odds of your car functioning safely during the upcoming Michigan winter.
- Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes extra gloves, boots and blankets; jumper cables and flares; a small shovel and sand or kitty litter; tire chains; and a flashlight and extra batteries. Put a few snacks and a bottle of water in your glove box and make sure you carry your cell phone and car charger with you. Having these few items with you can prevent a minor inconvenience from becoming a major problem.
- Grab your owner’s manual and see if you are up-to-date on the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules. If not, pay special attention to any engine performance problems you have noticed such as hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, or alert lights on your dash. Have these issues corrected at a reputable repair shop now because cold weather makes existing problems worse. A neglected transmission is often unnoticed until a major failure or accident.Routine checks and fluid changes can prevent very costly repairs or deadly roadside accidents down the line.
- A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline, leaving you at risk to becoming stranded while driving on less traveled winter roads. Be sure you have regular maintenance to replace dirty filters, such as air and fuel, and change your air and oil filter as specifiedin your manual. Regular oil and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services, yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
- As the temperature drops below freezing, you can add a bottle of fuel deicerin your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming, so aim for it to be half filled to help prevent a fuel line freeze.
- The cooling system should be flushed and refilledand the level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically through the winter months. We suggest having the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses be checked regularly by a professional technician.
- The heater and defroster must be in good working conditionfor passenger comfort and driver visibility.
- Help out your doors by using WD-40 or graphite in the locks to prevent them from freezing overnight or while driving. Also, keeping the door’s gaskets rubbed with silicone can keep the door from freezing to the frame. Consider buying a deicer and keeping it handy. For your windows, remember to replace old blades regularly and for Michigan specific winters we have heard rubber-clad blades will help fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent and don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
- The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Make sure to get your battery checked to avoid finding yourself stranded with a dead vehicle.
- Inspect all lights and replace burned out bulbs. Some may just need a nice cleaning from the road grime. If you have clouded lenses, they can be refinished by many service outlets or by using a DIY kit found in major auto parts outlets.
- Worn tires and brakes are dangerous and can be deadly to you and other drivers in the winter months.Before it gets too cold, examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Keep checking tire pressure, at least once a month but only after you have let the tires cool. Rotating your tires is also recommended and having your brakes checked is always a good idea. Don’t forget to check your spare tire and make sure you know where the jack is as well.
Remember in the case of an accident or a vehicle breaking down and being stranded in the snow, you should stay in your vehicle and avoid overexertion via shoveling snow or pushing your car. For warmth, if you are able, you should only run your vehicle’s engine for about 10 minutes each hour and only after you have ensured your tailpipe is clear of snow. Otherwise, you risk carbon monoxide being forced into your vehicle. Despite the many factors that are truly out of our control, we can each have an impact on roadway safety during winter weather.
Have You Been Involved In A Cold Weather Driving Accident?
If yes, we don’t have to tell you about the difficulties of recovering from a serious accident or caring for an injured loved one. We know you understand far too well how hard it can be to heal or be a care-taker while ensuring your whole family is cared for physically, emotionally, and financially. The Michigan auto accident attorneys at the Offices of Lee Steinberg understand these things as well, and we have a long history of representing vulnerable clients. Our greatest satisfaction comes from winning or settling a case and knowing our clients can rest easier knowing their medical care, lost wages, and other expenses are taken care of. If you’ve been in a winter driving accident, call us today for your FREE consultation: 1-800-LEE-FREE.
Source: National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence