Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter
Seasonal changes can have significant wear and tear on your vehicle, especially in a state like Mississippi where winter weather is largely unpredictable. Because of this, early fall is an ideal time to perform preventative maintenance that can prepare any car for the changing conditions ahead.
Whether you drive a car, truck, or motorcycle, ensuring that your vehicle is properly maintained is one of the easiest ways to ensure that a mechanical issue does not compromise the safety of you and your loved ones. Read on to learn about what you can be doing during this time.
Preventative Maintenace For Cars And Trucks
The key to reducing accidents caused by vehicular issues during the fall and winter is preventative care. While this may look different depending on which type of vehicle you have, there are some general things you can be looking for, including:
- Brakes that grind or squeal
- Issues with the head and taillights, turn signals, and brake lights.
- If there is anything missing, cracked, or scratched.
- Issues with power steering.
Although the above are simple things that you can be checking on a daily basis, there are many other issues that may arise during the season if you fail to perform any maintenance under the hood.
Under The Hood
If you’re the kind of driver who prefers to perform your own maintenance rather than take your car to the shop, don’t forget to check underneath the hood each time the seasons change. When doing this, you will want to look for:
- Fluid levels: oil, transmission, brakes, and power steering.
- Corrosion and charge level of the battery.
- Any cracks, breaks, or disconnections in belts and hoses.
- Signs of a dirty air filter or issues with airflow.
- Anything that may look abnormal.
Even though you’re getting ready for winter, windshield wiper fluid and coolant levels should also be checked during this time. Depending on how old your vehicle is, you may also consider replacing your windshield wipers altogether, as this is recommended every six months to a year.
Tires are one of the most critical components of roadway safety. Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that worn-down tread depths or underinflated tires can increase your risk of an accident by 26%. When performing your preventative maintenance, make sure to check:
- The tread depths – an easy way to do this is to place a quarter “head down” in the tread; if you can see the top of George Washington’s head, your tires need to be replaced.
- Air pressure – anything 20 PSI or lower can put you at risk of a blowout.
- Condition – are there any bulges, bumps, or cuts?
- Age – most manufacturers recommend that you replace tires every six to ten years.
Colder temperatures can significantly impact your tires’ condition, so don’t forget to check them throughout the season. This is also an ideal time to have your tires rotated, which can help them last longer down the line.
Should I Have My Car Detailed in the Fall/Winter?
In addition to the above, you may be wondering if getting your vehicle detailed is an essential part of the maintenance process. There are many benefits to doing this at least once or twice a year, and it goes beyond just making your vehicle look nicer. Here are three reasons why you may want to add this to your pre-season checklist:
- Eliminate buildup from dirt and debris that may impact your internal air quality.
- Waxing can provide protection for your car’s exterior from the elements.
- Getting tires detailed can prevent cracks or other damages that cause them to wear down quicker.
Ultimately, having your car detailed, or at the very least doing a thorough cleaning, can help you increase the longevity of certain parts in your vehicle.
Tips for Winter Motorcycle Storage
Motorcycle riders should also be performing pre-winter maintenance on their bikes to ensure they are in the proper condition to be stored. Regardless if you choose to keep it in your driveway or garage during this time of year, here are ways you can “winterize” your motorcycle:
- Do a thorough cleaning of the bike to remove dirt and debris buildup.
- Lubricate the internal components to prevent the effects of excessive moisture buildup.
- Fill up the gas tank and change the oil.
- Remove the battery and keep it on a charger for the duration of the season.
- Use a nice quality motorcycle cover to protect it from dust, moisture, bugs, and other unwanted factors.
After performing your routine maintenance, one of the most important decisions to make is where you will be storing the bike for winter. Although many motorcycles can handle staying outside in Mississippi weather during this time of year, most manufacturers recommend that you keep them in a dry, indoor location until inclement weather subsides.
From tire blowouts to mechanical issues, poor vehicle maintenance causes and/ or contributes to thousands of traffic accidents each year. Couple this with weather-related factors, and it’s easy for seasonal changes to affect your driving more than you know.
Being negligent in the care of your vehicle puts every roadway user in danger of a collision. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, perform pre-season maintenance in the fall and spring.
Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman PLLC is dedicated to helping injured victims in motor vehicle accidents. To discuss your potential case with a member of our team, call (662) 222-0597 or fill out this short form.