CHICAGO, IL – As we enter what many consider to be the worst months of winter, drivers still have a long season ahead of them with dangerous road conditions, and it's important to be prepared. Glass America has compiled their annual tip list on how to get your vehicle ready for winter driving.
Checklist for Winter Driving:
- Check your brakes
- Make sure you have great tire treads
- Replace worn windshield wipers
- Make sure your washer fluid is non-freezing
- Make sure your battery is fully charged
- Check you antis-freeze
- Check belts and hose for cracking
- Switch your oil to winter weight
- Make sure all your lights are working
- Check for any small cracks in your windshield – the cold makes them grow.
Glass America is one of the largest independently-owned automobile glass replacement and repair companies in the country. As a company that focuses on auto safety, they release a how-to piece each year as a way to remind drivers to spend an afternoon doing a winter tune-up on their car or truck to prepare for icy, snowy and slushy conditions. Even though we're all busy, it's worth the time, and extremely important to prepare your vehicle for the winter driving season before you find yourself caught out in the cold. We hope that these tips can be a public service announcement that empowers consumers to take control of their own auto safety for themselves, their family, and their neighbors. We should remember to observe posted speed limits, and drive slowly during poor visibility and slippery conditions. Drivers should also avoid sudden or jerky movements during acceleration and braking.
Preventative Vehicle Maintenance:
- It takes longer to brake and stop in the ice and snow.Now is the time to replace those squeaky brakes.
- Check the treads on your tires to make sure they can grip during slippery and icy conditions. Insert a penny in the treads. If you see the entire top of Lincoln's head, it's time to replace the tire.
- Carry dirt or kitty litter in your trunk in case you get stuck and need extra traction under a slipping tire.
- Replace worn wiper blades that create streaks on your windshield and refill windshield wiper fluid that won't freeze below 32 degrees.
- If your battery is getting old, it may not start when you really need it on those frigid days. You can check it at a local service station (some do this for free) and replace it before it's a problem.
- Check your anti-freeze
- Check belts and hoses for fraying and cracking; replace as necessary
- Keep up with regular maintenance such as oil changes and switch to a winter weight oil in cold climates.
- Check your turn signals, head lights and tail lights
Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle's windshield with a scraper. It's also important to completely clear the hood and roof using a long-handled brush. This is a law in many states because dangerous ice blocks can form that may blow off onto the cars behind you, causing damage and even breaking windshields.
Do not use hot water to melt ice on your windshield which can spread cracks in the windshield. Instead, warm up your car before driving, using the warm air blowers and defroster to slowly heat up the front and rear auto glass.
When expecting a big storm, use an ice and snow cover for your car's windshield to reduce the time it takes to clean it off.
What To Do if You Get a Crack or Chip in Your Windshield:
Windshields are a crucial and frequently overlooked potential safety hazard during winter driving. A minor chip that is not directly in the driver's line of vision can be repaired for a fraction of the cost of replacement. The windshield repair process takes about 30 minutes. Even better, most insurance companies waive the comprehensive deductible so the auto glass repair could cost you nothing.
If the windshield damage is more severe than a minor chip or crack, or if the crack is in the driver's line of vision, then most likely your windshield will require replacement.
Create A Vehicle Emergency Kit:
- Basic tool box
- Box of kitty litter (for traction on ice)
- Cell phone
- Cell phone charger
- Emergency blanket
- Extra baby care items: diapers, wipes, bottles
- Extra fuses
- First aid kit
- Flashlight (Reverse the batteries to avoid accidental burnout when not in use.)
- Ice scraper and brush
- Jumper cables
- Portable car battery charger (This will be your new best friend in an emergency.)
- Reflective hazard triangles (flares run out)
- Small metal shovel· Snacks for the family (for traffic jams during storms)
- Spare tire, Fix-a-Flat, and/or tire pump
Following these tips can help ensure your safety, as well as your family's, during the winter season.