You make sure the winter coats are clean and fresh. You find your supply of hats and gloves just in case. Maybe you even recaulk your windows just to keep a bit of the cold air outside where it belongs. What do you do for your car?
Even if you live in a relatively mild climate like what we have here in North Carolina, you need to make sure that you have planned ahead for cold-weather driving. Vehicles respond differently when the temperatures dip. Failing to maintain your vehicle properly can cause you to be held liable if you cause an accident, especially one that leads to injury.
Use these five tips for making sure your vehicle is winter-weather ready.
1. Oil Change
Are you coming up on an oil change? Make sure to talk to your mechanic about adding a different type of oil for this time of year. Oil tends to become thicker in the cold weather, so thinner oils should be used for changes that occur before winter sets in. Check your owner’s manual to see if there is a recommended oil for cold weather months.
2. Wiper Blades
Wiper blades are one of those strange things that we know we need, yet put off replacing for longer than we should. We are always “getting to it.” Maybe next week. That can quickly turn into next month or even next year. If your blades need replaced, get it done.
Don’t panic. You don’t need to replace your battery just because the temperatures drop, but you should make sure that it is in good working order. Have a mechanic test any battery that is more than three years old. You want to know that your battery can still hold an adequate charge before you drive off down a wintery road.
4. Tire Pressure
How long has that light indicating low pressure been on? Stop ignoring it. Proper tire pressure ensures that your wheels are making contact with the road in the way they are meant to. When you let your pressure stay low, your tires are jeopardizing your safety in wet, inclement conditions. Plus, tire pressure tends to drop in the cold months, so be sure to keep your tires filled.
5. Four-Wheel Drive
If you have four-wheel drive, now is the time to make sure your system is working properly. Very few, if any, people use their four-wheel drive in the summer months, and it isn’t unusual to find out it isn’t working right when winter hits. Often, it is too late by the time a driver is alerted to some issue. Check your system now and make any necessary repairs.
Don’t let your lack of maintenance be the reason that you and your family are in an accident this winter. By taking just a few moments of your time now, you will be helping to make sure your family is safe for the whole season.
If you are injured in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of experienced accident attorneys. We will help you schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation at which time we will advise you of your options.