It’s Time to Get Your Car Ready for Holiday Travels
With the leaves changing color and falling to the ground and a brisk chill in the air, it’s becoming clear the holiday season is just around the corner. With this season, comes a time for heavy travel for many individuals and their families. This travel can be particularly stressful as there are more people on the road than usual, and the weather can quickly turn very cold and snowy during this time of year.
In fact, it is well known that there are more traffic accidents and fatalities during holidays than other days of the year. For these reasons, you will want to make sure your vehicle is ready for travel to ensure you and your family are safe wherever you are going.
One of the first things to check when you are preparing your vehicle for heavy travel are the fluid levels. Looking at the antifreeze is especially important, as this keeps your engine from freezing. You should also check the oil and windshield wiper fluid. With freezing and melting, the windshields can get dirty very fast, causing hazardous driving conditions. You will be much more likely to suffer an accident if your vision is impaired.
There are specific formulas of these fluids that work better in colder weather, so ensure that these are what is in your vehicle before setting off on your trip. If you do not know how to check the fluids yourself, take your car to a trustworthy shop to have them checked. Don’t forget to keep your gas tank filled and stop whenever you are running low. Don’t assume there will be another gas station close by. It is better to stop more frequently than to get stranded with no fuel for your vehicle.
Belts and Hoses
This is a step that is easily overlooked, as most people don’t even think about the belts and hoses in their vehicle until there is a problem. However, these components are especially prone to failure during colder weather as it can cause cracking and additional wear. The last thing you want is for one of these to fail, especially during the holidays, as most shops that offer assistance will be closed or short-staffed, which means the wait for help to arrive can be much longer than usual.
Belts and hoses aren’t the only things negatively affected by the cold weather. It is also harder on your battery, so make sure it can hold a charge well, and that all of the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If your battery is over three years old, you may want to consider replacing it.
No matter what, remember to pack jumper cables, even with a new battery. With any luck, you won’t have to use them, but it is better to be prepared, as you never know what difficulties you may encounter on your journey.
Arguably, one of the most important steps in preparing your vehicle for holiday travel is making sure you have the right tires and that they are in good condition. If the tread is low, replace them to ensure you get better traction. If you live in or will be traveling in particularly icy and snowy conditions, it may be safer to install snow tires.
Colder weather frequently causes the air pressure in tires to drop. So check your tires to make sure they are at the recommended pressure setting and add additional air if needed.
Your Insurance Policy
Before a long road trip, it’s always good to take a look at your insurance policy. If you don’t already have it, add roadside assistance to your plan. Again, this is one of those things that you don’t want to be in a position to need, but just in case you do, it is much better to have it available.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Despite your best planning, unforeseen accidents and obstacles may still arise during your holiday travel. In this instance, you will want to have materials ready to make it through until you are able to get to safety. This is why you need an emergency kit in your car that includes blankets, extra coats and gloves, a flashlight, batteries, a tool kit, a first aid kit, an ice scraper, flares, and a shovel. You should also have bottled water and food, particularly high-calorie items like nuts and protein bars.
Holiday travel is often stressful, but if you are well-prepared, you will be doing your best to ensure you and your family are safe to celebrate a joyous holiday season!