Atlanta is fortunate to have fairly moderate winters – at least for the most part. Winter storms have been known to leave snow and ice on city roads, wreaking havoc with traffic and causing damage to people, vehicles, and properties. By winterizing your vehicle before it’s snowing outside, you’ll help keep yourself and others safe this season.
How to Winterize Your Vehicle in 7 Steps
Even though Atlanta doesn’t have winters like the Northeast, it’s important to winterize your vehicle. The weather can be very unpredictable, and some winters are harsher than others. It’s best to be prepared just in case!
- Engine Oil: The viscosity – or thickness – of your oil changes with the seasons. It is thinnest during the summer when temperatures are warm, and thickest when temperatures drop. This becomes a problem when oil becomes too thick to flow smoothly through your engine’s parts, potentially causing your engine to overheat. Changing your oil for one with lower viscosity will prevent this problem from occurring.
- Add Antifreeze: Antifreeze keeps your engine cool and prevents the liquids inside from freezing. Make sure to use the correct ratio – 50:50 mixed with water – to keep your engine working properly this winter.
- Check Your Batteries: Batteries are one of those engine features which are easy to forget about, especially since most batteries last between three to five years. It’s inconvenient when they go out during any season, but can be dangerous during the winter.
- Inspect the Defrosters: Your vehicle’s defrosters are critical for visibility during winter. Make sure they are working properly so that you’ll be able to see every night of the year.
- Tires and Tire Pressure: Your tire pressure changes depending on the season due to consistently hot or cold temperatures. Maintaining proper tire pressure is crucial for your vehicle’s stability, braking ability. Improper tire pressure can even cause tire failure in some cases. Additionally, your tires should have an appropriate amount of tread so your vehicle has traction during poor weather. This amount will vary depending on the type of tire.
- Windshield Washer Fluid and Wipers: Replace your windshield wipers regularly. This will help prevent you from finding yourself in a snow or ice storm with wiper blades that can’t effectively keep ice and snow from accumulating on your windshield. Keeping your washer fluid full will help dislodge any snow or ice as well.
- 4WD: For vehicles with 4WD that can be engaged and disengaged, consider making sure that the system works before the first snow or ice storm arrives. Even if you decide not to repair a broken 4WD system, at least you won’t be caught unawares when you most need it!
Other Helpful Tips for Winter
In addition to winterizing your vehicle, you may want to consider these helpful winter driving tips.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. These supplies don’t take up a lot of room, and they’ll be incredibly helpful if you do wind up in a worst-case scenario during the winter. Kits generally contain flashlights, flares, jacks and tire inflators, jumper cables, and fluids. It’s also a good idea to keep an ice scraper on hand.
- Store a spare pair of winter boots, a blanket, gloves, hat, and blanket in your backseat or trunk. These items will keep you warm and dry if you become stranded.
- Keep your gas tank full during the winter, or at the very least, no less than half a tank. Not only do you run the risk of getting stranded if an ice storm locks up Atlanta, condensation can form on the inside of a mostly-empty gas tank and drip. This normally isn’t a huge problem, but if temperatures get to freezing, then any water which has made its way to the fuel lines can freeze and crack the lines.
- Have your car inspected before and after the winter driving season. Belts and hoses can be worn out or have corrosion from any salt on the roads. It’s best to have any worn out parts replaced before they give out while you’re on the road.
T3 Atlanta is the premier auto shop for Infiniti, Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan vehicles. We perform routine maintenance as well as more in-depth repairs. Don’t be unprepared this winter driving season. Come visit us at our Smyrna or Decatur location, both of which are convenient to the Atlanta area.