With the New Year comes the chance to take a step back, self-assess, and set goals for the year ahead. And even if your New Year’s resolutions are already a distant memory, here’s one you can add to your list: getting your car in tip-top shape! Here’s a quick checklist to help you and your vehicle start the year off right—and it doesn’t even require a gym membership.
1. Begin the year with a clean car
Ensure your car is ready to take on winter weather by starting with a clean slate. Clean off any dirt or grime that’s built up on the exterior and undercarriage over the past few months. If you’re dealing with snow and ice this time of year, it’s good to maintain a clean exterior to protect the paint and polish. And if you live somewhere warm enough—or get a nice, sunny day—you can save a few extra bucks and clean your car yourself!
2. Check your tires
Determine whether your tire tread is deep enough. Pick up a tire tread depth gauge at your local auto parts store, or insert a penny with Lincoln’s head down into your tire tread. If you can still see the top of his head, it’s time for new tires—in fact, many states require tires to be replaced once the tread reaches 2/32”. If your tires are more than half-worn—approximately 4/32”—you may want to start looking for replacements.
While you’re assessing your tires, check the tire pressure. Do this at least once a week, especially during the winter, since colder weather can cause your tires to lose pressure more quickly. Low tire pressure can lead to a blowout, so it’s important to be proactive.
3. Restock your emergency kit
It’s crucial to keep an emergency kit in your car in case you’re involved in an accident and you need something you don’t normally carry with you. This is especially true during the colder times of the year, as you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road without essential items to keep you safe. At the very least, we recommend keeping the following in your car:
For many of us, the new year brings the coldest weather of the year. This quick checklist offers a few key suggestions to help ensure your vehicle is ready for the rest of winter:
Check your battery. Batteries are more likely to die in cold temperatures, so make sure yours is in good working condition. Otherwise, you could be stuck in the cold with a dead car battery.
Have a mechanic look at your brakes. Salt and snow can cause higher levels of wear and tear on your brakes. Have a licensed mechanic check them out to help avoid potential accidents.
Replace your wiper blades. This one is fairly simple, and you can even do it yourself. Purchase and install new wiper blades to help clear snow and ice off your windshield.
Fill brake and wiper fluid. Your brake fluid can get dirty in the winter, reducing its effectiveness, so it’s best to start the year with new fluid. And don’t forget to purchase wiper fluid made for cold weather, so it won’t freeze up on your windshield and reduce your visibility.
5. Review your car insurance
Finally, make sure you’re protected with reliable car insurance this year. If you only carry the minimum insurance level required by your state, you may want to consider the additional options available to you to provide even more protection for you and your vehicle. Give your Dairyland agent a call to discuss discounts that might apply to you, such as a defensive driving discount or a multi-vehicle discount.