Winter in Kentucky is unpredictable at best. It can be icy on Saturday, warm and sunny on Sunday, and then snow a foot and a half overnight without warning. It’s all too easy to get stuck with a car that won’t start on a frigid morning. To save you time and to save your car, here are our top seven ways to winterize your car, courtesy of our top-notch service departments and the team at Fortune Collision Centre!
Check your wipers.
Wipers are the only thing making sure you can still see in front of you. Winter can take a toll on wipers, which have to deal with ice, slush, snow, and road salt, so make sure yours are in good condition and replace them if necessary.
Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid.
Washer fluid is good for more than just getting dust off your windows. You can use it to clean off a windshield full of grimy road spray, and to melt a little bit of ice or powdery snow. Make sure you’re prepared for anything and have plenty of fluid in your car. It helps to have washer fluid that has low-temperature protection, too, so it’s less likely to freeze when it’s cold out.
Keep your gas tank full.
This one may seem like common sense, but keep at least a half tank of gas in your car when the temperatures drop. It helps reduce moisture inside your car so nothing freezes, and it’ll ensure that you don’t end up with a car that won’t start on a cold morning.
Ensure your belts are in good shape.
Your belts can deteriorate when the weather gets colder, making operation of your car more difficult and more dangerous. Pop the hood and make sure your belts are intact and going strong--you don’t want to get stranded with a broken belt! If you’re unsure of what to look for, swing by our service department and they can check your belts for you.
Check your battery life!
The battery is one of the most important parts of your car--you’re not going to get far without it. When winter temperatures drop, the cells in your battery can die. It’s best to let a professional check your battery. Give us a call and we'll get you in to check your voltage and your Cold Cranking Amps (CCAs), which tell us how much power you have to start your car in cold mornings. If it’s less that 70% of what the battery advertises, we’d highly recommend getting a new one before you end up with a non-starting car.
Make sure your tires have plenty of tread.
This one is vital, especially if you tend to drive on roads that don’t get plowed. Tire tread helps your car grip the road, and it can get worn down over time. The minimum safe tread depth is 2/32 of an inch, and there’s an easy way to check to see if you’re above or below the threshold. Place a penny between the tread ribs on your tire. Turn it upside down so Lincoln’s head points down into the tread. If the top of his head disappears between the treads, you’re still in good shape. If you can still see his entire head, it’s time to come see us to get a new tire. Be sure to check all four!
Keep supplies in your trunk.
We hope you never end up stuck on the side of the road at any time of year, but it pays to be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency kit to keep yourself safe and warm while you wait for a tow truck or roadside assistance! We recommend including a blanket, water, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, flares or roadside reflectors, and an ice scraper--plus, of course, some non-perishable snacks like granola bars. With any luck, you’ll never have to use it, but if you do end up stranded in the winter, you’ll be glad you have it!
If you follow these tips, you can make sure your car is as prepared as it can be for whatever Kentucky winter throws your way. You can always swing by our service departments or any Fortune Collision Centre to get your car checked out and fully prepared for winter driving.
Stay safe and drive happy out there!