How to Make Sure Your Car is Ready for Winter

So you live in Southern California and think you know how to make sure your car is ready for winter. Well, we’ve got news for you – weather is unpredictable and our winter weather could change at THE DROP OF A HAT!

Live how the Boy Scouts do and be prepared. These tips and tricks for winter prep could quite literally be life-saving, so keep reading.

  1. When’s the last time you changed your oil?

Oil tends to thicken when the temp drops below freezing and if it’s the cheap stuff, your engine might revolt by not turning over when you ignite the ignition.

Check the owner’s manual to make sure 1) you’re using the right oil to lubricate the engine and 2) aren’t due for an oil change.

It would be a shame if your engine seized and you got stuck at the beach … because it’s probably NOT 5 o’clock somewhere … 

Santa at the beach

  1. Freshy Windshield Wipers 

It ‘rained’ a few days ago and it took me a full second to remember how to turn on my windshield wipers, but I know nobody else in sunny California has this problem so let’s just call this weather tip a wash and acknowledge you’re only reading for the author’s entertainment.

SoCal-ers are experts in driving in inclement weather and especially so during the annual rainy season. Fresh windshield wipers will help keep you alert for black ice that routinely shows up between the pass from Orange County to Palm Springs.

If your blades are over a year old (or pushing close to a year) get them changed, ASAP.

How to Make Sure Your Car is Ready for Winter

  1. Have an Emergency Driving Kit Packed and Ready

Say you’re driving up Pacific Coast Highway on the way to Grandma’s house, do you know how many potential weather risks you can run into from San Diego to Malibu? Be prepared and pack an emergency driving kit which should include:

  • A shovel and compact piece of wood to give the assist when your car will ultimately get stuck in the soft sand.
  • An extra towel for when your car gets stuck in the sand and you need a break from trying to rescue your vehicle from the frigid sandy depths, also known as the beach, and take a quick dip in the ocean. And then remember you live on the west coast and the Pacific Ocean isn’t the same as the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • At least one bag of salt to throw over your left shoulder to reverse the bad juju you acquired after cutting a handful of people off in traffic.
  • Throw a reflective vest and road flares in the bag for good measure.
  • If you’re actually driving to Grandma’s for holiday dinner and doing the 9-hour drive with family, plan for stress eating and pack your favorite snacks to take the close-quarters edge off …
  1. Give Your Car The Once Over

Double check all of your fluids and top them off. It never hurts to pull into Jiffy Lube and get the express treatment for the piece of mind.

How to Make Sure Your Car is Ready for Winter

  1. Don’t Over-Inflate Your Tires

Tires with too much air will slide over that black ice we were talking about a few numbers ago and who wants to skid through  the slick freeways in-between the frozen tundras of Joshua Tree and Corona.

Don’t read the tire pressure off the physical tire because that number represents its maximum holding. Instead, look for a sticker near the door or door jam which suggests how much air to keep inside your tires.

Keep in mind, if you’re SUPER worried about making the drive up opt for snow tires. The aggressive grip to the asphalt will put the whole family on ease, you just never know about those offshore winds and can never be too careful.

  1. What’s you battery look like?

If the last time your battery got any air was when AAA saved you on the side of the 405 freeway, pop the hood and give it a looksie.

The battery capacity is reduced during winter and has been known to fritz out if not given the proper TLC. Inspect for any cracks or breaks on its cables or hoses and if you find some, don’t think electrical tape will fix it.

How to Make Sure Your Car is Ready for Winter

  1. Know Where You Are

If you get stranded in an area with no cell service, know how to get BACK to the beach without the assist from Google maps or iMaps (assuming you are getting back to the beach, because duh who isn’t?).

Keep a handy dandy old-fashioned paper map in your glove box so you can ALWAYS find your way back.

Sources: today.com | readersdigest.com | dmv.org

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