You know who’s an idiot? Me. Here’s why:
Whether I’m commenting on the craziness of auto politics or making fun of the Subaru B9 Tribeca, I write something car-related every single day.
Yet it wasn’t until the temperature dropped to 1 and there’s a thick layer of ice on the roads that it occurred to me that I’d better make sure my family’s vehicles are prepared to survive the winter.
So if I’m late in “winterizing” my car, it’s a safe bet lots of others are too. Here’s what I finally did to make sure my family, and my cars, stay safe this winter while navigating the treacherous stretches of Pacific Northwest highways, backroads and poorly plowed residential streets:
1. Check the tire pressure (some people might consider putting on snow tires, though my all-seasons are still fairly new)
Add too much pressure and the amount of rubber on the road is decreased, which, as I learned last year, is a great way to get intimate with curbs. Too little pressure and you’ll compromise fuel economy and the tire’s integrity.
2. Check the oil
If your last oil change was in the summer, the oil’s viscosity may be too thick for adequate winter protection. It’s a good idea to look at the owner’s manual and see what oil is recommended for winter driving.
3. Test the AWD system
I tested this the fun way, on the unpopulated twisties near my house. I don’t condone that or recommend it. But it confirmed that yes, my AWD was kicking in at the appropriate times.
4. Check the antifreeze
We have a predicted low tonight of well below zero. If my antifreeze was only good to 15, I’d be in quite the pickle tomorrow. The antifreeze tester that I picked up at the corner auto parts store confirmed that I’m in good shape.
5. Check the battery
I might be gambling on this one, as batteries have a nasty habit of dying during snowstorms in front of Target at 10 pm. But, my battery shows a good charge even though it hasn’t been changed since 2002. I’ll risk it. You shouldn’t.
6. Replace wipers and add fluid
And make darn sure that the wipers are attached properly. I won’t tell you about the time I had to drive with my head out the driver’s side window because my wiper launched itself into oblivion.
7. Clean out your cupholders
You need to make sure you have a clean, sturdy place to put down your extra hot triple venti mocha.
Is there anything about winterizing your car that I missed?