When the winter season begins snowboarding fans start to think about taking a vacation to the slopes to enjoy their favorite pastime. If they are going to drive to a winter resort they will likely check that the car’s roof rack is secure and ready to carry their precious board. They will also pack warm, cold weather clothes, but they may not consider what their car needs to cope with a harsh change in weather conditions.
Make sure you are insured
It is important to realize that when you are planning to drive on any trip with with your vehicle, you must be insured. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered for certain damages that may be acquired when going on long vacation trips. It is even more important when going to areas with snow and ice that may impact the likelihood of damages and accidents. If you are on a budget, there are many ways to get free insurance quotes over the internet. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Ready the Engine
To drive in harsh winter conditions the vehicle’s engine needs to be in optimum condition. Cold weather can do a lot of damage to an engine if not properly protected. The engine should undergo a full professional service before the trip to check elements such as the battery and all of the belts and hoses. Appropriate fluids should be used including the right viscosity of motor oil and a winter weather mix of antifreeze. Engine oil thickens in cold temperatures, so a thinner motor oil is needed to avoid engine clogging. Antifreeze keeps the engine fluids from freezing, which can cause the engine to seize. It is important to keep the fuel tank well filled as well to stop the fuel lines from freezing, which can happen on an empty tank.
Car Exterior Preparation
The car’s tires are obviously important when traveling in a cold weather climate. All four tires need to be properly inflated, so as to maximize traction, and they should also have a good level of tread, as bald tires will slide more easily. The spare tire needs to be in good repair and inflated to the appropriate air pressure as well in case of any blow out. For really extreme areas, tire chains should be carried in case they are needed. Visibility is highly important in winter weather conditions, so properly functioning and effective windshield wipers are vital. A fully filled washer fluid tank is also important to help keep your field of vision as clear as possible when driving.
Prepare for the Worst
It may be necessary to sacrifice a little luggage space in order to have a survival kit on hand in the car. Warm blankets should be kept in the trunk in case the car breaks down, leaving you stranded. Water and extra non-perishable food should be in the car as well in preparation for a long wait for help. An ice scraper and snow shovel will be handy in the event of sliding off the road into a snow bank, as will a bag of sand or cat litter to help create traction on the snow. Torches are a good thing to have in the car, as are flares to help attract attention from search and rescue workers.
Making sure that the car is in the best possible condition and having tools and supplies on hand for any possibility is vital in cold weather. Ice and snow can be dangerous, and the cold temperatures can do a lot of damage to a poorly maintained vehicle.