5 Ways to Prepare Your Family Car for Winter

5 Ways to Prepare Your Family Car for Winter

winter driving safety tips ohio

We’re on the verge of another beautiful fall season here in the greater Cleveland/Akron area. While it’s easy to get caught up in things like the leaves changing colors, fall festivals and what to pack for your kids’ school lunches, it’s important to think ahead when it comes to one thing: the family car.

Why? Because now is the best time to winterize your car so it can withstand those notorious Northeast Ohio winters. If you’ve lived in the area for long, you know they can be brutal, especially when the wind blows across Lake Erie and covers us with snow. This can make for difficult driving conditions, to say the least.

To ensure that you keep your family as safe as possible on those frigid Ohio roads, here are a few ways you can prepare your family car for the winter season ahead:

1. Get an Oil Change
This is a good thing to do all year long, but it’s especially important before winter. Oil keeps your car running smoothly and it can get too thick if you don’t change it regularly. Cold weather makes oil even thicker, which can cause it to flow slowly and potentially cause your engine to overheat. That’s why it’s important to get your oil checked and changed regularly.

2. Check Your Battery Level and Cables
The last thing you want this winter is for your car battery to die and for you to be left stranded in the cold weather with your kids in the back seat. Cold temperatures are tough on your car engine and battery capacity, so it’s important to have both your battery level and cables checked to ensure everything is working properly and there are no cracks or breaks. Also make sure there’s no corrosion — you can tell there’s corrosion if there’s white, powdery substance around the battery clamps.

3. Make Sure Your Tires are in Good Shape
Winter means cold weather. Cold weather means ice. Ice means an increased chance of skidding when you’re driving. To ensure your family car gets as much traction as possible during the winter months, make sure your tires with the best tread are on the rear of the car (and replace any or all tires with low tread). Also, make sure you have enough air pressure, as it tends to drop when it’s cold.

4. Check Your Fluid Levels
All of your car’s fluids play a vital role in its operation, but one fluid in particular that you may want to pay attention to right now is your antifreeze. Antifreeze protects your engine from getting too hot or cold, so it’s important to ensure it’s filled to the maximum line and it has the right balance of antifreeze and water. Not sure what the right balance is? Premixed bottles are available at most auto parts stores, gas stations and even grocery stores.

5. Get an Emergency Driving Kit
Of course, you can prepare your car for Northeast Ohio winters all you want and breakdowns or other situations can still happen. That’s why it’s important to ensure you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your car. From general emergency kit items like flashlights and a first aid kit to more winter-specific items like glycerin (to de-ice door locks), an emergency driving kit can go a long way in providing peace of mind.

Hopefully these tips will help you prepare your family car for winter. To truly ensure your vehicle is ready for colder weather, however, you might want to take it into an auto repair and maintenance shop for an inspection.


— Submitted by Rainbow Muffler & Brake, which operates six Cleveland-area locations.


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