“If you’re looking for ways to get cheap vehicle insurance, one thing you might not have thought of before is winterizing your car – before the winter storm. Through the simple process of getting your automobile ready for fall and winter, you can keep it functioning well in all types of weather. Here’s all you need to know about how to winterize and how it can save you on your auto insurance premiums.
Wondering How to Save Money on Vehicle Insurance? Try Winterizing
If you’ve looked into how to save money on insurance before, you’ve probably seen things like adding safety features to your car and bundling your policies. You might be wondering why winterizing never came up. That’s because, technically, there isn’t a discount specifically for an owner who winterizes.
That said, the maintenance and care you put into your car is an important way to keep yourself safe. Snow, slush, and ice account for 24% of weather-related car accidents each year. By keeping your vehicle working well, you’ll minimize your chances of getting into an accident. And because safer drivers pay less in insurance premiums, this will indirectly result in you saving big.
What Does it Mean to Winter Proof Your Vehicle?
It means greeting Jack Frost with a vehicle that is ready to perform in cold temperatures and even help you out if you end up stuck somewhere due to wintery conditions. It’s the season to think about how freezing weather may affect things like your engine, windshield wipers, brakes, car doors, windows and all of the other systems that make your vehicle run well. Being prepared is a good idea.
Don’t forget to give your vehicle a bath, especially if it has been exposed to rain, snow and road salt. These things can affect your paint job and lead to rust if not handled in a timely manner.
Remember, an owner who isn’t going to be driving for a long time and doesn’t have a garage will find investing in a car cover is a good idea. A car cover protects your vehicle from some of the season’s worst. Be sure and get the right car cover for your vehicle.
Checklist to Winter Proof Your Car
Now that you know how winterizing your vehicle can help you save on insurance, you might be wondering, “How should I be getting my automobile ready for fall and winter?” If so, this winterized car checklist is for you. It covers all of the things you need to do before cold weather hits. Let’s hit some of the high points.
1. Inspect Your Tire Tread (and Check the Pressure)
Winter is a bad time to have low tread on your tires. Tread is what helps to give you traction on the road, so with bald tires, you have a much higher chance of skidding out of control on a patch of ice or snow.
To check your tire tread, you can rely on the penny trick. Take a penny and insert it into the tread so you see Lincoln’s head upside down. Ideally, the tread should cover up the top of Lincoln’s head. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, or there’s a gap between the head and the edge of the tire, it’s time for new tires.
Cold weather is also notorious for deflating tires. That’s why you should always keep a close eye on your tire pressure throughout winter. Top off your tires with more air if they drop after a particularly cold night.
For certain areas of the United States, consider buying season tires.
2. Check Your Fluid Levels
Your vehicle needs a lot of fluids to run smoothly! In particular, you’ll want to check on the oil, brake fluid, and coolant to make sure they’re high enough.
This is also the time you’ll want to add antifreeze to your system. Antifreeze works to lower the freezing point of the coolant in your engine during winter conditions. It’s vital for preventing your ride from freezing up on really cold days.
3. Change Your Windshield Washer Fluid to De-icing Fluid
Another fluid to top off is your washer fluid. But rather than the typical mix you usually use, now is a good time to switch to de-icing fluid.
Unlike the regular formula, which can often freeze on your windshield as soon as you spray it and lead to visibility issues, de-icing fluid has a lower freezing temperature. This means it can help clear off your windshield without creating more of a mess.
You can also go the DIY route by formulating a mixture of one part water and three parts vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray your windows and side glass. The acid in the vinegar will prevent ice build-up during winter conditions and make it easier to remove.
While you’re doing this, also check to make sure your wiper blades are still in good condition. Replace if necessary. You also have an option to purchase winter wipers. Winter wipers have a heating element that can make it easier to keep your view clear.
4. Test Your Battery Before Winter Driving
Cold can also drain a battery, leaving you stranded. Even if your battery still works, if it’s nearing the end of its life, it may be better to replace it before it dies on you unexpectedly. You can test this at home if you have the right tools, but you’re probably better off going to the shop to get their expert opinion on whether the battery can last through winter.
5. Test Your Headlights (and Taillights!) for Optimum Winter Proof Your Car Steps
Winter means we have less daylight and more darkness, so you need to make sure all of your lights are functioning well. Test your headlights to make sure they’re still bright enough to see, even in the middle of a winter storm. You may want to clean the protective casing using a special cleaner and brush to help them shine brighter.
While headlights help you see, your taillights help others see you! So don’t forget to check these as well. You may want to get help from a friend to also test brake lights and turn signals.
6. Put on Snow Tires
Snow tires are an excellent way to help make you safer in the winter. In fact, if you’re looking at how to save money on insurance by winterizing, this is probably the best way. Winter tires come with better traction patterns that give you more control on snow and ice. They also stand up to the cold better than regular tires. They’re one of the smartest things you can do to stay safe on the road.
7. The Interior Can Be Winterized, Too
Freezing rain and ice can have a negative effect on the interior, as well as the exterior and the systems. Since you’ll be using the heater more with the windows up, consider changing the cabin air filter so you and your passengers will have a healthier air flow. If your feet get muddy and wet, make sure you clean your floor mats regularly so they don’t get damaged. Clean
How Do I Build a Winter Safety Kit for My Car?
Building a winter safety kit is an essential part of getting ready for fall and winter. You can use the items in the kit to stay warm, hydrated, and safe while you wait for help to arrive in the event you are stuck somewhere. Here’s what you’ll want to include in your kit:
- Equipment – Extra batteries, Duct tape, flashlight, foam tire sealant, hand tools, ice scraper, jumper cables, road flares or lights, snow shovel, Swiss army knife, tire chains, windshield cleaner, paper towels
- Personal – Blankets, extra clothing, gloves, hat, scarf, mobile phone charger, first aid kit, food and water
- Misc – Kitty litter, dirt or sand, maps, radio
The best way to store all of this stuff is in a tote in your backseat or trunk. That way, it’s easy to access everything in one place so you won’t have to dig around looking for what you need.
Before you get on the road, install a weather app on your phone to alert you of conditions. There are also some good traffic apps that can help you while driving to your destination.
Don’t Drink Alcohol if You Get Stranded
Remember, being in a sketchy situation due to freezing weather is not the time to crack open that bottle of Jack Daniels or a beer. Sure, it can be stressful to be stuck somewhere in the cold, but drinking alcohol will not help. In fact, it could make a sketchy situation downright dangerous.
Although you may feel a warm glow while consuming alcohol, your core body temperature is actually dropping, which could lead to hypothermia and even death. If that’s not bad enough, drinking alcohol can reduce shivering, which is actually your body’s natural attempt to stay warm.
So do some meditation, wrap up in that blanket in your emergency kit and wait it out sober.
How to Save Money on Auto Insurance Online Today
Winterizing your car can improve your driving skills and increase your chances of staying safe on the road. Freeway Insurance provides affordable auto insurance even if you don’t have a perfect record. Receive a free quote online today, visit us or give us a call at 800-777-5620.