Besides routine maintenance and unexpected accidents, your car is usually ready to roll whenever you are.
But when the temperature hits bone-chilling lows in the Blue Ride Mountains, your car needs a little extra help. Without taking these extra precautions, you could face a chilly late-night breakdown on I-81.
- First things first—examine your lights (interior and exterior). Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly, too. The last thing you need late one winter night is to go blind during a snowstorm. Also, make sure your birghts are working, as well. Many of the rural roads can be even more hazardous when visibility is low.
- Make sure your exhaust system is free from obstructions or malfunctions. Winter is the time of year when carbon monoxide poisonings are highest, caused in part by sealed windows trapping the gas from damaged exhaust systems.
- Check your brakes! Winter weather driving is extremely demanding on your brakes, and you'll need them in top condition to stay safe on the season's slick road surfaces, especially when you are on a downgrade along Blue Ridge Parkway
- Chilly temperatures are tough on batteries, so make sure yours is up to the task and charging properly.
- Your antifreeze system needs to be cleaned and flushed. Also, don't forget to replace your antifreeze fluid!
- Are your windows clear? Replace your wiper blades (preferably with winter weather versions) and have your defrosters and heaters checked. Trying to drive with frosted windows is a nightmare.
- Winter weather is also unforgiving on cars with dirty oil. Changing oil needs to go hand in hand with replacement of transmission, fuel and air filters to optimize winter driving.
- Winter is definitely not the time to put off replacing tires. Insufficient tread depth can spell disaster on slick roadways. In addition, be sure to check your tire pressure at least once per week during cold months.
- Refill your gas tank before it dips below the halfway mark. In extreme temperatures, moisture can sometimes build up and freeze in empty gas lines.
- Cold weather magnifies most existing car problems, from cracked windows to idling issues. If anything is wrong with your vehicle, get it fixed ASAP and keep your car working like the Roanoke Star.
- Keep your car stocked with a winter weather emergency kit. Include blankets, flares, jumper cables, water, food, an ice scraper, and a flashlight at the very least.
Winterizing your car might seem like an unnecessary hassle for a worst-case scenario. But the time commitment is incredibly minor compared to the peace of mind you'll get from having a fully prepared vehicle next time a Nor'easter rolls through town.
So what are you waiting for?
#winterize #road safety #blizzard