How to Winterize Your Vehicle for Northwest Indiana
Winter is swiftly approaching, and it’s crucial to prepare your vehicle for the unforgiving Northwest Indiana weather. Winterizing helps prevent breakdowns and ensures safety on icy roads. Below are four key steps to winterize your vehicle effectively.
|What to do
|Why it matters
|Check your battery
|A weak battery can fail in cold weather
|Change your oil and antifreeze
|Protects your engine from freezing and corrosion
|Replace your wiper blades and washer fluid
|Enhances visibility in snow and ice
|Inspect your tires and brakes
|Provides traction and stopping power on slippery roads
Check Your Battery
A weak battery can falter in cold weather, leaving you stranded. It’s essential to:
- Inspect for slow starting or a clicking sound when turning the key.
- Check for dim or flickering dashboard lights.
- Get a professional battery test if it’s over three years old or shows signs of damage.
Change Your Oil and Antifreeze
Fresh oil and antifreeze are vital to keep your engine running smoothly in winter.
- Use a thinner oil like 5W-30 to improve lubrication and fuel efficiency.
- Ensure a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water in your cooling system to prevent freezing and corrosion.
Replace Your Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid
Proper visibility is crucial for safe driving in snow and ice.
- Inspect wiper blades for cracks or streaks and replace them at least annually.
- Use washer fluid with a low freezing point and consider adding an antifreeze additive to prevent freezing.
Inspect Your Tires and Brakes
Tires and brakes are your primary means of control on icy roads.
- Check tire pressure and tread depth, adhering to your vehicle’s recommended specifications.
- Consider switching to winter tires for better traction and check your brakes for signs of wear or damage.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) advises several measures for safe winter driving in Northwest Indiana. Before setting out, drivers should check the weather and road conditions, and consider staying home if they are adverse. It’s essential to clear all snow from your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights, and signals, and thoroughly check the vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts, and hoses to prevent breakdowns. INDOT also recommends leaving ample time to reach your destination, carrying a basic winter survival kit, and having winter travel gear such as tire chains and an ice scraper. Additionally, during winter, INDOT deploys snowplow drivers to clear roads, and drivers are advised to maintain a safe distance from snowplows, exercise patience, and be aware of the restricted vision of snowplow operators for overall road safety.
Winterizing your vehicle is a proactive approach to ensure safety and reliability as you navigate through the cold and snowy months in Northwest Indiana. Be proactive! schedule maintenance at Smith Ford of Lowell today! Stay safe on the roads this winter!