How to Winterize Your Vehicle in the Pacific Northwest

February 28th, 2019 by

The Pacific Northwest can get brutal winters with lots of snowfall and frigid temperatures. The best way to protect your car from this kind of weather is by winterizing it. Consider the following tips to care for your car.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Unfortunately, the winter weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest are not always easily predictable. While some drivers may attempt to avoid mountainous or busy roads during inclement weather, this is not always possible. For this reason, it is advisable to pack an emergency kit ahead of time. That emergency kit should include items that you might need in the event of a winter emergency.

Chains may be useful in case you get stuck. However, you want to make sure that the chains you are using are approved by the state of Washington. Studded tires can be helpful on slippery mountains but are only allowed until March 31 of each year. Additional items to pack in your emergency kit include water, non-perishable food items, an extra cell phone charger, an extra pair of clothing, and a battery-operated radio.

Schedule an Inspection

Scheduling a routine inspection is a great way to prepare for winter weather. Not only can an inspection reduce your chance of breaking down at an inopportune time, but it can also ensure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving. This is a good time to replace the coolant in the radiator system, check the antifreeze levels, check your battery, and have the oil changed.

Swapping out to winter-specific tires should also be done during this time. If you do not change out your tires, then you will want to have your tire’s pressure checked while also having your tires rotated. Always replace tires if the threading is worn as this can become even more dangerous during winter weather driving.

Prepare for an Emergency

Despite your best efforts to minimize winter distractions, it is still possible to have a winter emergency. Frozen locks are a common problem with Washington’s cold winter temperatures. If freezing weather is expected, then spray de-icer on the locks before going to bed. Spray it in the center of the lock so that it also protects the lock cylinder. It is also possible for your parking brake to freeze when the car has been sitting for a few hours. If possible, avoid using the parking brake entirely during freezing temperatures.

Raising your wiper blades away from the window before bed can also help. Otherwise, the blades can get frozen to the windshield, making it more difficult to de-ice your windows. Whatever you do, never remove ice with hot water. Doing this risks cracking your windshield, putting yourself at an even greater safety risk.

Winterizing your car can help you prepare for the harsh Pacific Northwest winter. Schedule a routine inspection, place an emergency kit in your car, and know how to handle the most common winter emergencies. You will be prepared for whatever the Washington winter throws your way.

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