7 Easy Tips To Prepare Your AWD Subaru Or Any Car Now For Winter Adventure
It’s hard to believe, but snow is forecast and coming soon to many cold-weather states this week. Subaru vehicles like the new Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent all come standard with Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, and all have a reputation as the best AWD vehicles, but there are things you need to do to be ready when the snow flies.
Snow and ice on the roads can challenge even the most experienced drivers and even though your all-wheel-drive Subaru is outfitted with the best hardware, safety is important. Here are seven easy steps to take to make sure your car is ready for the worst mother nature can bring and that you are safe while driving this winter.
2019 all-wheel-drive Subaru Crosstrek
Inspect Headlights, Tail Lights and Fog Lights
Make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights, and fog lights are all working properly. When the snow flies, there can also be heavy fog and you need to see what’s in front of you and you want other drivers to be able to see you. Check all your lights to see if they are working and replace any bulbs that are out.
Older Subaru vehicles have plastic headlight covers that can get a haze on them or look discolored. This can have a negative effect on the brightness of the headlights. Plastic headlight lens repair kits can be found at various retailers or many details shops can do this for you.
Get new wiper blades
It’s always a good idea to replace your front and rear wiper blades right before winter hits. Wiper blades typically last about a year, and you won’t notice they are worn until you try to wipe off heavy snow with them. You can also get winter blades that offer more snow and ice-wiping ability over the standard summer blades. They will cost you more, but it will be worth it to see out your windshield.
Test your battery
Have your battery tested, and get a new one if it’s a few years old. Your battery may be working well when it’s warm out, but a battery will lose it’s cranking power as the temperature drops. Many tire shops or your local mechanics can test your battery to see if you need a new one. Also, clean your battery posts and connections to make sure they are free corrosion and make sure your battery has all the water it needs.
If your battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to go ahead and replace it. It’s also a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk or in the back cargo area just in case you do need a jumpstart after your car has been sitting all night in the extreme cold.
Use winter windshield washer fluid
While you are under the hood looking at your battery, fill up your windshield washer reservoir with fresh winter washer fluid. Auto parts stores and even gas station convenience stores will have a large supply this time of year. Don’t wait until the first snowfall because they might run out as most people don’t think about this until they run out. It’s a good idea to buy an extra gallon or two and keep it in your garage.
Check your anti-freeze
Make sure your antifreeze is the right mixture or you could have big problems. Without it, your engine can freeze, leaving you stranded and having to pay for expensive repairs. It’s best to have a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze (coolant) inside your radiator.
It’s easy to check the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed. You can do this yourself, or take it to a professional repair shop or Subaru dealer.
Change your oil
While you have your car in the shop, have the mechanic change your oil and put in the right viscosity (thickness). Subaru recommends a certain viscosity and many new cars run the same blend all year. Check your owner's manual for the recommended oil. A fresh oil change will insure your engine’s oil will keep your engine lubricated at the coldest temperatures.
Your engine will experience the most wear when you first start it up. Clean oil flowing smoothly at startup will keep your engine lasting longer, especially when temperatures fall well below freezing.
Get a set of winter rated tires
Last and probably the most important thing you can do before the snow flies is to change from all-season tires, and put on a new set of the best winter tires. You don’t want to be sliding on snow-covered and icy roads and winter tires will offer your new Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek or Ascent superior traction and handling.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA