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The holidays are a popular time for people to travel. Those who live far from family and friends are packing up their cars and heading home to celebrate the holidays. But all that traveling can really take a toll on your car. I am the queen of owning cars that have some sort of car issue. From failed transmissions to broken brakes to really crappy tires. Something always goes wrong with every car I own (my current one is doing good so far…*knock on wood*). I’ve learned from past experience that it is so incredibly important to make sure your car is always taken care of so that you can prevent any major issues while you’re on the road. Especially in the winter months for those of you who live further north. The last thing you want in the middle of a road trip is for your transmission to go or for your car to run out of oil. So here are five things you should do to prepare your car for winter driving.
SWITCH TO WINTER TIRES.
If you’re traveling through the northern states, this is especially important. Make sure your car is equipped with the right tires. Summer tires just aren’t going to handle as well in the snow as winter tires would. Hence why they’re two different types of tires. All-season tires are pretty good as well, but being raised in Maine, I much prefer to have those winter tires. Not only is it important to have good tires on your car, it’s also really important to make sure you have a back up tire as well as the equipment needed to change a tire if needed. I’ve had way too many tires pop on me so it’s crucial that there’s always a backup in my car. And at this point, I know how to change it without assistance. This is a really great skill to learn if you haven’t already!
HAVE AN EMERGENCY CAR KIT.
These kits can be picked up at any auto store or even the auto department of your local Walmart. Everyone should have this in their car regardless of the season, but in the winter months, it can be so much easier to get into an accident or have something go wrong with your car. So it makes having an emergency kit even more crucial. Your kit should include everything you can think of: flares, road hazard markers, jumper cables, flashlights with backup batteries, matches or a lighter, candles, a first aid kit, a small tool kit, a jack, etc. It’s also good to have things like snacks and extra water as well just in case! Even blankets if your car was to break down and you were left waiting for a tow truck in the cold. Think ahead and prepare for anything and everything!
SWITCH TO WINTER WIPER BLADES.
I actually had no idea these were a thing until last winter. Apparently they make winter wiper blades that are better able to cut through ice and snow which is super awesome. Even if you don’t want to spend the money on winter wiper blades, it’s still good to make sure your wiper blades are in good working condition. They get worn after a while so if they’re super worn then they’re just not going to work as well as brand new ones would.
GET THE HEATER CHECKED.
I’ve had my heater stop working in the middle of winter and I promise you, you don’t want this to happen to you! I was 18 and drove to work at 4 o’clock in the morning, 1 hour each way, in the cold. It was quite miserable. On the flip side, I’ve also had my air conditioner stop working in the middle of the summer. I drove that car from Maine to Florida in the middle of June without AC. That was also miserable. To be sure to have these things checked ahead of time. It would be horrible to be driving through the snow with no heater and this would also make it extremely hard to keep the windshield from freezing over as well. Not only is it uncomfortable, it can also be unsafe as well.
HAVE YOUR CAR FULLY SERVICED.
When I say fully serviced, I mean everything. Be sure to have them check the brakes as well as all fluid levels: coolant, oil, anti-freeze, windshield wiper fluid, etc. It’s also good to have them run tests on the battery to make sure it’s working properly as well. This should all be done a week or so in advance so that you have the time to fix anything that may come up unexpectedly.
Whenever I’m planning a big road trip, I can always count on Walmart’s Automotive Care Center to be my 1-stop shop for preparing my car for the colder weather. I can drop my car off to be serviced while I explore the store and gather everything else I may need for my road trip (this is the perfect time to build that emergency kit!). Currently Walmart’s Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic oil change is on Rollback ($49.88 Rollback to $44.88) now through December 27, 2016! Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology keeps pistons up to 20% cleaner than what is required by industry standard and keeps your engine cleaner than any other synthetic oil. Synthetic oils also perform much better in extreme temperatures whether they’re hot or cold.
You can click here to find a Walmart Automotive Care Center near you! And when you arrive, be sure to ask for a Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic oil change. This Rollback ($49.88 Rollback to $44.88) is only good from now until December 27, 2016 so you don’t want to miss out!
How do you prepare your car for winter road trips?