It’s quite challenging to prepare a car for any road trip, because there are quite a few things to be done beforehand. However, preparing it for a long trip in winter conditions presents an even more difficult task. Cold roads could be rather challenging for drivers, especially those with little experience in driving in such conditions. So, if you’re planning a winter road trip, take a look at the following list of tips you should follow before heading out on your journey.
Check your battery
When temperatures drop close to freezing, batteries lose power. They can lose as much as 50% of their charge at zero degrees. Since the battery is needed to power your car and keep you warm inside it, it’s vital you don’t end up with a dead one. If your battery is old, replace it. If it’s not that old, have it checked before the trip.
While you should probably have jumper cables in your car in all seasons, their importance increases significantly in extremely cold weather. Just like you might need them to jumpstart your car, you might be able to help a fellow driver stranded because of a dead battery.
Tools for snow and ice
A scraper and a shovel need to be stored in your car. You need to scrape ice off your car in order to be able to see where you’re going. There are heated scrapers available, which you plug into your cigarette lighter to make the task of scraping ice faster and easier. On the other hand, a shovel is irreplaceable if you find yourself stuck in snow. A folding snow shovel is easy to store, which is why you definitely have to get one.
Have your car checked
Regardless of how often you have your car inspected, it’s a good idea to take it to your mechanic before a long winter road trip. Even the most reliable car models need to have their parts occasionally replaced. Just make sure you get quality Toyota parts recommended by this manufacturer and your mechanic if you want your road trip to be safe.
Inspect your coolant
Needless to say, it’s vital you have the right quality and quantity of coolant/antifreeze in your car, since it keeps your engine fluids from freezing and makes sure that your car can start when you need it to. It also protects the engine from rust and corrosion better than plain water, which is why you shouldn’t use the latter, especially in winter conditions.
Keep the tank full at all times
There are several reasons why you need to keep the gas tank fuller during winter months. For example, condensation can form in the tank, which makes it hard to start on a cold winter morning. Next, in case you get stranded, you should be able to keep your engine running, so that you can heat the interior and have your lights on to warn the passing cars about your problem. So, don’t forget to keep the tank at least half full at all times.
Windshield wiper fluid
Again, some drivers use plain water instead of a non-freezing alternative, which is a wrong idea, especially in winter. You need to have your windshields clean as much as possible, because sand and salt on the road can dim visibility and you should be able to wipe away the grime. Also, your blades should be in good working order, so replace your old wipers with ones which are heavy duty and made for ice and snow.
Inspect your tires
First of all, check that you have the right type of tires for your winter road trip. Next, make sure they are in good condition, i.e., inspect the tread. Without tread there is no friction and that’s extremely dangerous. Finally, make sure the tires are properly inflated, because that affects the safety of your ride and allows you to be as economical as possible. Depending on the road conditions, you might need to get chains. If you have no experience using them, make sure you practice installing them before the trip. Follow the instructions or find an online tutorial but do learn how to use them before the trip.
If you follow these tips, you’ll get your car ready for a winter road trip. In order to have a memorable one, you first need to make sure that your car is ready, since any problem you might have with it will most certainly spoil the whole experience or even put you in a dangerous situation.