Winter is usually a tough time for cars and their drivers. Vehicle parts are susceptible to freezing temperatures and driving is much harder during winter. Getting stranded on a lonely stretch of road on a winter night can be quite a nasty experience. The following steps can help to ensure your car’s components are all functioning optimally and reduce the likelihood of the aforementioned eventuality.

1. Stock up on antifreeze

If your radiator is running low on antifreeze, the water can freeze causing your engine to overheat. You should aim for a 50-50 mixture of water and antifreeze to protect your vehicle from freezing temperatures. If your antifreeze mixture is not optimal, it should be drained and the new mixture added.

2. Inspect your oil

Oil tends to get thicker in cold temperatures and more so if it is old dirty oil. You should get your oil and filter changed. If you live in areas where winters are excessively cold, you should preferably change to thinner winter grade oil. Generally, a thinner grade such as 5W30 is preferable to thicker varieties say 10W30 during winter.

3. Check your car’s brakes

Slippery conditions and poor visibility during winter make it absolutely necessary to ensure car is able to stop much quicker than usual. You should have our brake checked, replace worn out brake pads and fill up on brake fluid.

4. Ensure the battery and charging system are operating at optimum performance.

Cold temperatures can decrease the life of a car battery by as much as 50%. You should make sure that the terminals are corrosion free and for a battery older than 3 years, have it checked at a repair shop for its ability to hold charge.

5. Check your tire pressure and treads

Your tire pressure tends to drop due to colder air during the winter. Keeping your tires at the recommended level not only makes winter driving safer but also improves fuel economy. Additionally, the roads are usually very slippery, increasing the chances of getting stuck or skidding into a collision. If your tires are worn out, you should order new ones from your auto parts dealer. You can even order tyres online. You might also find it useful to acquire snow tires which come with deeper grooves and are made of a special type of rubber providing as much as 40% better handling.

6. Ensure your fuel tank is always full

If your tank isn’t full there is a higher chance of water condensation forming inside the tank and fuel lines, affecting your engines performance. Additionally, keeping your tank full reduces the chances of running out of gas while out on a drive.

7. Ensure your windshield wipers and headlights are in good condition

Visibility in winter is usually severely compromised. Faulty wiper blades should be replaced to enable efficient cleaning of precipitation and salt buildup on our windshield. While at it, also fill up your wiper fluid reservoir. Your headlamps should be able to work at full strength since you might need them much more in winter. Replacing faulty headlamps, preferably with much brighter varieties could potentially do great service to your winter driving.

8. Add an emergency kit in your car

The risk of emergencies is much higher during winter. If you don’t already have an emergency kit, buy one. Stock up on additional items such as flares, flashlights, radio, ice scraper, blankets and warm clothes among others.