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Preparing Your Care For Winter (Blizzards) in Michigan

January 6, 2023

Winter is here!

With snow sure to be in the upcoming forecast around Grand Rapids, you need to be certain that your vehicles are prepared for the cold. If you’ve been in our state for any time, you know that we can experience freezing rain and snow with frigid temperatures from October all the way until March (such as the recent blizzard where snow and ice fell fast, trapping many of us in our homes during the holidays). Add to this mix the fact that we have limited daylight, and you have a lot of challenges for Michigan motorists in the winter months.

To help you, here are some tips on preparing your car or truck for another Michigan winter:

Check Your Battery. Have your car battery professionally tested before winter to see you need a new one. Remember that our sub-freezing temperatures can diminish battery life and performance. Plus, corrosion buildup on battery posts and terminals can cause hard starting problems in cold weather and prevent your charging system from recharging your battery. Many auto parts stores will test your battery free of charge.

Inspect Your Tires. Bald or ineffective tires can be the start of an accident during winter. Make sure your tires have proper tread depth for snow and ice. Be sure to inspect your tires for tread wear and rotate them at every oil change. An easy way to check your tire’s tread is with the “penny test”. Take a penny and put it in the tread groove of your tire. Place the penny with Lincoln’s head facing you. The top of Lincoln’s head should not be visible. If it is, it’s time to replace your tires.

Also, low air pressure in your tires can be potentially dangerous on winter roads. Bring  your vehicle to an auto  mechanic to check your tire pressure. Ask them to fill your tires if necessary. Most garages will do this free of charge, which allows you to stay in the car!

Fill the Fluids. There’s probably no such thing as too much washer fluid. Plus, you should change the oil and top off the antifreeze. For example, in addition to protecting your engine from freezing and cracking, engine coolant also has anti-corrosive additives and water-pump lubricants to keep your entire cooling system in good condition.

Regular maintenance of your vehicle can help prevent car troubles during our Michigan winters.

Swap Your Wiper Blades. Trade your old, worn-out windshield wiper blades for a new pair designed for winter weather. This will pay dividends. Also, clean your car’s headlights to see clearly during the long winter nights.

Make a Winter Survival Kit. Put a box together and place it in your car during the winter months for roadside emergencies. Some of the most important items include the following:

  • Battery booster cables;
  • An ice scraper;
  • A portable shovel;
  • A bag of sand h to help with traction;
  • A flashlight;
  • A signaling cone to warn oncoming cars or roadside triangles;
  • A basic first-aid kit;
  • A cell phone charger;
  • Gloves, boots, and a cap; and
  • Water and long-lasting food.

With a well-stocked survival kit, you’ll be ready to deal with most winter roadside breakdowns and avoid getting frostbite.

Be Safe This Winter!