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Prepare Your Car for Missouri Winters

Don’t be fooled! Even if it’s already March or even April and you’re ready to be done with the freezing conditions, winter weather can make a repeat appearance.

Before you open the door to winter weather, you make sure you are bundled up in a coat, gloves and boots to be safe and warm in cold and snowy conditions. Your car deserves the same preparations to safely take you where you need to go. Missouri Driving School is proud to offer these tips to help you get your vehicle ready for winter.

  1. Get your car tuned up. Regardless of the weather, regular vehicle maintenance is always a good idea. Extreme temperature changes can affect your car’s performance, so it is a good idea to make certain it is in working order when winter sets in. There are a few basic items you can inspect yourself, but a mechanic might find potential fixes before they become a bigger problem. If your heater needs repair, get it done as soon as possible. You may think that you’d be fine on a short drive, but you’ll be thankful your car’s heater is working if you find yourself stuck for an extended period.
  2. Inspect under the hood. Start with your wiper fluid. Keeping your windshield washer reservoir full during the cold months ensures you can keep your windshield clear, even on the snowiest day. Next, check your oil and antifreeze and change or replenish if necessary. It is worth repeating that regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing car trouble during winter driving. While under the hood, also inspect your battery. Its capacity decreases in cold weather, so be sure it is up to the challenge.
  3. Inspect your tires. Make sure your tires are rotated on a scheduled basis, and check the tread. One popular method is the penny test. Place a penny upside down in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing you. The top of Lincoln’s head should not be visible. If you can see the entire head while in the groove, get those tires replaced. Also check the tire pressure. As the temperature falls, so does the air pressure in your tires. Your tire can loose a pound of pressure for each 10 degree drop in outside temperature. Low tire pressure greatly affects your car’s handling, so keep them inflated properly.
  4. Inspect the exterior of your car. This includes making sure your exterior lights are working properly and have clean lenses. Also check your windshield wipers and replace if they are worn. For most newer cars, also make sure your rear camera is free from dirt and debris so backing up is as easy as possible. Road salt commonly used during winter can damage your car’s paint, too. Be sure to rinse it off occasionally to prevent corrosion and keep it looking like new.
  5. Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include a snow/ice scraper, first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, blankets, matches, an extra set of clothes, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. You may want to include a snow shovel, too. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, keep a small bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk to create traction under the tires if you get stuck.
  6. Consider these other items. Keep your gas tank at least half full during winter months. This reduces condensation and makes your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings. Next, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and bring a charger with you in the car. You want to be able to contact help if you need it.

No matter how many winter driving tips you follow, it is best to learn how to drive the right way from the start.

Instead of dreading the winter drive, you can feel better knowing you have prepared your car for the cold and snow. Staying safe also includes learning how to drive in bad weather. The professionals at Missouri Driving School teach St. Louis area drivers the best way to handle their cars in all types of scenarios. Ask us about driving lessons for beginning or returning drivers that help to put you in the right mindset for driving Missouri roads in every season. Call Missouri Driving School today at 314-849-4590!

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