Michigan is known to have some of the most brutal winters in America, reaching record-lows of -37 degrees below. What usually starts just before Thanksgiving stretching far past Easter, Michigan winters are long, cold, grey and utterly devoid of sunlight for the most part. With the next one right around the corner, it’s definitely a good idea to make sure your car is prepped and ready for the coming winter. Safety is our number one priority. Luckily, we’ve come up with a handy-dandy pre-winter car checklist to be your guide.
Now, the first thing to check is your car’s battery. The colder it gets outside, the harder your battery has to work. And unfortunately, the colder your batteries get, the less power they have. You don’t want your car running out of juice in the middle of a drive. It’s really important that you have your batteries checked so you don’t get stranded out in the cold.
Next on the list is the coolant in your radiator system. If you don’t have enough anti-freeze, the system could freeze and the engine block will crack. Make sure that your car contains a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze, and check for any leaks. Have your anti-freeze replaced if it hasn’t been flushed in years. This will prevent dirt and dust particles from clogging the cooling system in your car. This also keeps the rust inhibitors fresh and effective.
If you plan to use snow tires, it’s best to have them installed before winter arrives. For regular tires, make sure they’re properly inflated, have sufficient thread with no uneven wear, and ensure that their rubber is in overall good condition. You will need excellent traction to prevent your car from losing control and skidding off of snow-covered roads. Keep your tires’ thread at least 1/16 of an inch and you should be fine.
Cold temperatures also tend to lower the pressure in your tires. Check your tires’ pressure at least once every month to make sure they’re always at their optimal condition. Using a tire gauge is easy and takes less than five minutes to do. Don’t forget to check your spare as well.
The rubber in your tires degrade over time and can lead to failure in its structural integrity. Older tires may have damages that are not so easily detected. If you are unsure of the wear of your tires, you may want to consult with a professional.
Windshield Wipers and Washers
Without a doubt, driving visibility is one of our top safety priorities. Snow, sand, dust and dirt will eventually find their way to your windshield, and you’ll need a good combination of windshield wipers and washers to get rid of them. Heavy-duty windshield wipers work best for heavy snowfalls and any worn wiper blades should be replaced if you hope to see anything during winter. You will need a lot of washer fluid to keep your windshield clean during this time. Fill your car’s reservoir with non-freezing washer fluid before heading out.
Again, we’re looking at visibility here. Michigan winters can get very dark starting as early as 5PM, and as late as 9AM.Head, tail and fog lamps, as well as turn lights should be working perfectly. Have a torch light stashed in your car for safe measure.
We want our brakes to be working a hundred percent especially when driving in winter conditions. We need to be able to stop our car the moment something unexpected happens on the road. Signs when to replace your brake pads are when there are vibrations on the brake pad, longer stopping distances, or when your foot pushes further on the pedal than normal. If you don’t already do so, be sure to have your brakes checked by a professional every six months.
Keep this checklist in mind before braving that cold Michigan winter. If you need a trained eye to take a look at your car and make sure it’s winter-ready, it’s best to consult with a professional. Let King Brothers Collision help keep you and your family safe in your car this winter. Give us a call at 313-534-8090 (Redford) or 734-744-8557 (Livonia) if you nee! You can also opt to request a quote here.