Winter is coming, and with it comes concerns about wear, tear, and safety. Not only do the freezing temperatures and vicious weather put you at risk, but they can also do serious damage to your car or truck. Even if you aren’t in an accident, you may face expensive repair bills if you don’t take some time to prepare. You’ll need to consider everything from basic hardware like lug nuts to tires and chains. We’ve put together a few helpful hints to make sure you’re ready to winterize your car before the polar vortex strikes again.
The first thing on any winterization list should be a general check-up for your car or truck. Make sure fluid levels are where they should be, especially antifreeze and steering fluid. If at all possible, raise your car and check for leaks or breaks along the undercarriage. Check for loose hardware, especially lug nuts, as your tires will face additional stress once winter weather hits. Regular freezing and thawing over the late autumn can loosen hardware, so even if you’ve recently checked your vehicle, go over things like lug nuts, and steering linkage again after major thaw cycles.
Be sure tires can handle the snow. If you live in the country where roads are rarely plowed, you should consider wrapping chains around your tires for extra grip. It’s a good idea to keep chains handy in your trunk, in case of sudden snow or an accident that sends you into a ditch. Even if bystanders want to help, they will need something to link their car to yours. It’s always best to be prepared, especially when stranding can mean hypothermia.
Plan Ahead for Wheel Adapters and Lug Nuts
Old cars are great, but they can’t all support the kinds of tires your car will need to make it safely over icy roads. Always err on the side of caution and choose the safest wheels for the season. Remember, even if winter-friendly wheels and their adapters don’t look perfect on your vintage car, they help make sure it’s still in one piece when spring and the car show season arrive. Wheel adapters allow just about any type of wheel to go on nearly any car or truck. Because trucks and SUVs are more popular for rural residents, they often have the greatest range of available adapters at local parts shops and automotive stores. While everyone should plan ahead bad weather, those with specialized vehicles should plan to get adapters before they need them. They may need to special order them or buy them online.
Winter makes driving a greater challenge, but careful winterization ensures your vehicle doesn’t turn into a hazard. A regular check-up can catch serious issues before the weather and rough driving conditions jeopardize them further, and secondary checks after freeze and thaw cycles helps you keep ahead of ice damage to joints and links. Last, but not least, make sure you have the right wheels for the job. Be sure to plan ahead, not just for tires, but also adapters and additional lug nuts to fit the best tires to your vehicle.