Getting your Car Ready for Winter
– By Pioneer Auto Museum
Here in South Dakota, the arrival of winter can often be a very unpredictable event. Some years, shorts and flip flops can be worn well into November, while others require digging out the snow blower in early October. However, one thing is for sure – in order to smoothly transition from one erratic South Dakota season to the next, being prepared is a necessity, and one very important, and often overlooked, item that requires some prep before winter is your car. Here at Pioneer Auto Show, we’ve learned a thing or two about proper fall car maintenance, and are here to let you in on some tips to help you get from point A to point B, no matter what Old Man Winter throws at you.
Inspect Your Tires
When the roads are icy, decent tires can be the difference between easily getting to your destination or driving in panic as your car slips and slides. Since tires lose pressure when the temperature drops, it is critical to check all of your tires’ pressure regularly, and add more air when needed. Underinflated tires can be hazardous on the road, as they cannot grip as well as properly inflated ones.
It is also important to make sure your tires have adequate tread. To test if you have an appropriate amount of tread, all you need is a penny – insert it between the tread with Lincoln’s head pointing towards the tire, and if you can see all of his head, it is time to look into replacing your tires.
Replace Your Wiper Fluid
There’s nothing worse than trying to clear obstructions on your windshield with wiper fluid, only for the liquid to freeze and cause an even bigger visibility issue. Not all wiper fluid is created equal, and what works in the summer is not guaranteed to work the same in the winter. Pick up a wiper fluid solution specifically meant for winter so you don’t end up with a windshield that’s frozen solid.
Switch Your Oil
Engines perform better in cold weather with thinner oil, making it a good idea to swap your engine oil out seasonally for optimum performance. The thickness of oil is indicated by the first number on the oil specification. For example, 5W-30 oil will be a better choice in the winter than 10W-30.
Many people make it a habit of letting the low fuel light come on before worrying about heading to a gas station, but now is not the time to press your luck and end up stranded. There are several problems that can arise if you allow the fuel line to get too low, including your fuel pump’s life being shortened and the possibility of the gas breaking down and separating. A good rule of thumb is to keep it at least half full at all times.
Pack an Emergency Kit
In the event something does go wrong while you’re on the road, make sure you have what you need to keep you safe while waiting for help to arrive. Your kit should include:
- A flashlight
- Road flares
- Snacks (such as jerky or nuts)
- A first aid kit
- An extra change of clothes
- A solar battery charger
- Sand or litter (for traction)
After you’ve finished getting your vehicle ready for the impending frost, come visit us at Pioneer Auto Show to view our over 275 classic cars, 60 tractors, 60 motorcycles, and much more!