Nothing keeps me in my “Happy Place” better than a general feeling of safety, well-being, and security
for me and my family. As parents, professionals, and intrepid adventurers, we all want a safe
journey down the road to visit family and friends over the holidays. Or, sometimes we just get a
bad case of cabin fever and want to stroll out in the countryside or mountains for some snowy
scenery. Well, it’s great to get away from home, but it’s never a good idea to do it half-cocked!
Driving in a blustery blizzard is never advisable, because it just compounds your chances for
getting into a car accident. In this post, we’ll visit some very important factors to keep you
prepared and cruising at your very best ability.
Tires with Teeth on Them
Can you believe it’s already been 40 years since Goodyear first introduced its “all-season time”
with the Tiempo tire line? Thankfully, our tire winterizing options have gotten even better over
time. Nowadays, all season tires simply come standard on cars straight from the factory. Still, as
Consumer Reports’ tests show, there’s no substitute for dedicated winter/snow tires, which
outperform most all-season tires. If you spend a decent amount of time on the road for work
and play where there’s plenty of snow, then it’s probably a good idea to get four dedicated
winter/snow tires for balanced traction. However, if you rarely come in contact with snow or it
melts in your area pretty quickly, then stick with all-season tires.
Steel Wheels for Snow Tires
If you spend a lot of time driving in the snow, then it makes sense to get a new set of steel
wheels for your dedicated snow tires. They can be found relatively cheap, too. A standard steel wheel will run anywhere between $50 to $75 each. Always try and opt for steel for snow tires,
over aluminum wheels – they’ll hold up and last longer.
Most new vehicles come standard with this feature in the form of a digital display. Each tire will
have a sensor that communicates with the on-board computer display. You can even get an
extra set of sensors for your dedicated winter tires/wheels. Check with your local dealership,
but the sensors themselves usually cost only about $30 per wheel.
Check Fluid Levels
Before making any cross-country road trips, be sure you’ve topped off all the vital fluids for
your vehicle. Think of antifreeze as that magical substance that keeps your engine from freezing
up, when the temperatures dip down to single or negative digits. Winter-rated windshield
wiper fluid is a must have, because if you get behind a truck or where the snow has melted, it
can feel like your car has become a magnet for muddy water. And, yes, your engine burns up oil
in the winter, too. So, be sure if you are close to needing an oil change, you get it done! Also, in
colder weather, it’s also a good idea to use a thinner oil in your engine. For instance, if you
generally use 10W-30 oil, you might consider switching to 5W-30 for winter-time driving. But,
be sure to consult your owner’s manual first to make sure that change is allowed.
Take Care of Recalls
If you’re like us, you’ve probably got a short stack of recall notices from your vehicle’s
manufacturer informing you of some defective product on your car or truck. Don’t travel
without getting those taken care of, either. They serve as notification that you have been
warned of a defective part or assembly. If you are injured in a car accident and a defective product malfunctioned making your injuries worse, you may be able to seek compensation for
damages. But, better yet, get the recall repair taken care of!
The Ultimate Winter Car Survival Kit
We wrote a whole post on this, so be sure to go back and read that one as
well. But, basically, the Ultimate Winter Car Survival Kit contains supplies you need to stay alive,
warm, and fed, if something should happen to your vehicle in a remote area, or you are in a car
accident and just waiting for emergency responders. This kit will include flashlights, flares, first
aid items, ice-scrapper and snow shovel, food, additional clothing, and other essential gear.
Lastly, for heaven sakes, dress appropriately. Don’t wear your Crocs, if you are driving across
the country during the winter. Okay, I’ll get off my Mom Box now!
Thank you to Dawn Balite for writing this informative article!