Prepare car for winter

Soon, a new layer of snow on your lawn and street will be a common sight in the morning, and your routine will include scrapping your windshield and heating up your car. In addition to your morning regimen, you need to put thought into preparing your car for winter. Every time you pull out of your driveway, you face snow and ice covered roads, which increase your risk of an accident.

Don't leave your fate to chance. Instead, follow these tips to prepare your car for the chilly season:

  • Review your tire treads. To determine if your tread is too thin, use the penny test. Place a penny with Abraham Lincoln's head facing down into the groove of the tread. If you can see any amount of space above Lincoln's head, your tires are too worn and won't grip winter roads as well as they should.
  • Check your tire pressure. Under-inflated tires will wear unevenly and over-inflated tires won't stay on the road. Make sure all of your tires are inflated to the recommended level.
  • Assess your antifreeze levels.
  • The importance of this fluid can't be understated. Antifreeze keeps the fluid in your car from freezing in frigid temperatures.

  • Purchase new windshield wipers. Wipers are often damaged by salt and ice throughout the winter. Inspect your wipers, and if they're battered or torn, purchase new ones.
  • Check windshield-wiper fluid. Even after you scrape your windshield, you often need your wipers to remove remaining snow, ice and salt residue. Continuously monitor your windshield-wiper fluid so you never run out when you need it most. You may want to consider keeping a spare bottle in your backseat.
  • Add emergency supplies to your back seat. If you're in an accident, you may be stuck in your car for a long period of time. Make sure you have a blanket, flashlight, candle and matches, a small shovel, and basic first aid kit. You may also want to pack other supplies you think could be important like flares or a reflective flag to mark your position on the road. Many people even keep a box of kitty litter handy for when a tire gets stuck in a rut. Sprinkle the litter on the area around the tire to create traction.
  • A new car may be in order
    If you live in an area that usually gets heavy snowfalls, you may want to do more than prepare your current vehicle, such as consider purchasing a new all-wheel-drive car or truck. Having an all-wheel-drive vehicle can be handy during harsh winters and for driving over snow- and ice-filled terrain.

    Review your auto insurance
    Whether you buy a new car or merely prep your existing vehicle for the oncoming storm, you also need to review your car insurance policy. Make sure everything is up to date and that you'll be fully covered if you're in an accident involving ice, snow or winter-related hazards.

    Additionally, if you haven't price checked your policy in a while, do some comparison shopping with CoverHound to ensure you're getting the best deal in your area.

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