From holiday travels to conquering your winter commute, it’s just as important as ever to be prepared for winter driving. Like you, we take auto safety seriously and strive to do what we can to make the roads safer during the holiday season. Check out these tips or stop on by our Epsom, NH dealership to learn more!
- Thoroughly Check Your Vehicle
First, the obvious and most important thing to check on your vehicle is your battery and alternator. All batteries struggle in extreme cold and your vehicle’s battery is constantly exposed to the elements during winter. This is also hard on your alternator and can cause its belt to crack, making it harder to bring power from the engine to the battery, which can prevent your truck from starting even with a newer battery. These vital parts impact each other and examining both is vital for winter safety.
The other common winter issue is having your brakes underperform during winter weather. Once again, cold weather and time spent in the elements takes its toll on your brakes. Having decent brake pads can also be the difference between stopping where you expect versus skidding into an intersection. We highly recommend checking these parts when you have someone take a look at your battery.
- Gear Up for Snow
Once you’ve done the routine winter check up on your vehicle, it’s time to think tires. Some of our customers get by just fine with all-weather tires while many others make the choice to get snow tires for the winter season. Either way, it’s crucial to ensure your tires have the right amount of tread left on them to get you through the cold season. If you’re interested in new all-weather tires, want to jump into a new set of winter tires, or just have questions about the best deals on tires for your vehicle stop on by or give our parts center a call.
Driving through the snow is one thing. Unleashing your vehicle from the snowfall of a recent blizzard is another thing entirely. No matter what, always have a sturdy snow scraper and brush in your vehicle. Many of our customers find success using a longer scraper to clear the top of their vehicle and a scraper glove to keep their hands warm as they clear their windshields. Several of our staff members keep snow shovels in their vehicles to help them get out of difficult situations. If your vehicle isn’t large enough to accommodate a full-sized shovel, plenty of folding and telescopic options are available on the market!
- Get Ready for the Cold
Of course, it isn’t just the snow and ice that gives us trouble during the winter. The temperature itself can be at least a hassle and at most a hazard to the safety of your vehicle and yourself. For your vehicle, it is crucial to check your oil, windshield wiper fluid, and gas consistently throughout winter. You’ll want to keep your gas and windshield wiper fluid above ¼ full (with some experts recommending ½ to be safe). You will also want to see when your last oil change was and consider getting it done a few hundred miles before the recommendation if you start to approach that number during winter.
The cold is also known to destroy windshield wiper blades. That’s we recommend leaving your blades up whenever it is supposed to be icy and making sure you replace any damaged blades as soon as possible during winter.
The final piece of the puzzle is what you wear out into the cold. While it can be tempting to warm up your vehicle with remote start and rush out in what you want to wear to work, we always encourage bringing clothing you would feel comfortable shoveling snow in-- even if those clothing items sit in the passenger seat during each ride.
- Stay Connected with Others
It’s become a quintessential piece of advice from family members-- always bring your phone on long trips. Well, the adage is even more true in the age of the connected car. Many modern trucks and SUVs provide several ways to connect to your smart devices and for you to connect with others. Whether you’re using OnStar or Apple CarPlay, check out the specific features on your vehicle or give us a call if you want to know more. Now might be the perfect time for you and yours to upgrade to newer vehicle so you can stay connected wherever you travel.
If you end up going on a longer trip or plan to stay somewhere for awhile, let others know your plan, when you are leaving, and when you expect to arrive. This gives you and your relatives peace of mind as you travel through the wintry landscape of New Hampshire these next few months.
- Use Your Safety Features
Newer models roll off the lot with a ton of integrated safety features and we are willing to bet several of them help make winter driving easier for you. That’s why it is important to know what your car can do, ensure you are utilizing safety features, and that you do everything you can to make sure they work properly. If everything looks good, clear off your external cameras and hit the road. If not, contact us or stop on by so we can help repair your vehicle and restore these vital safety features.
- Prepare Lists for Long Hauls
Despite the fact that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, nothing beats being prepared. Especially when you’re gearing up for winter travel. Write down a checklist of things to do before you leave (including important auto check-ups), create a packing list to prevent someone from leaving a Christmas gift at home, and put together a research list for wherever you are going to check on weather and winter hours for local businesses.
Most importantly, give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going. This includes time to pack the day before, time to sleep the night before, and time to double check your lists like Jolly Saint Nick. Trust us, you will be glad you did.