You know the drill: make fewer claims on car insurance policy, get fewer unpleasant surprises when you renew or shop for auto insurance quotes. Well, here comes winter weather and a real good opportunity to avoid damage, accidents and potentially higher premiums.
Drive defensively. You can’t stop as quickly and you don’t have as much steering control on wet, snowy or icy roads. Slow down and maintain the proper distance between you and the car ahead.
Get your oil changed to the correct winter viscosity. Cold weather makes oil thicker. If you’ve got old, thick sludgy oil running through your engine, you’re asking for expensive repairs down the road. Don’t forget the anti-freeze, either. Have the coolant system drained or flushed, and refill it with a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water. DIYers, be sure to dispose of the old stuff properly. It’s lethally toxic to dogs and cats.
Talk about a cold snap! Winter freezes can cause brittle, frayed, cracked hoses and belts to break, leading to engine damage and leaving you stranded on a frozen roadside. Get them checked and replaced.
Modern cars with all their electronic equipment put a constant drain on batteries. Have your battery checked to make sure it can hold a full charge and replace it if its lost its juice. While you’re under the hood, make sure the connections are free of corrosion and top up the water, if your battery requires that.
Improper tire pressure not only trashes your gas mileage, it can cause accidents (there go your car insurance discounts). Tire traction is critical on wet or icy roads. Keep your tires properly inflated and check them more frequently in cold weather since air pressure drops about one pound psi for every 10 degrees drop in temperature.
Replace your windshield wiper blades and fill your washer reservoir with a winter-quality fluid (plain water will just freeze and crack the reservoir). There, now you can see the car stopped car ahead of you and avoid a rear-end collision and car insurance claim.
Never try to force a frozen car door lock. Keep a tube of glycerine-based de-icer in your garage or desk drawer (it won’t do you any good if it’s locked in your car). Hot water will also work in a pinch.
Keep an emergency kit in your trunk. Basics include flash light, flares, extra cell phone battery, water, high-energy snack bars and hard candy, a heavy blanket, boots, gloves, ice scraper, small shovel, a bag of non-clumping cat litter or sand for traction, jumper cables, spare tire and tire-changing equipment, snow chains, and a first-aid kit. Experts also recommend keeping your gas tank as full as possible so the tank doesn’t freeze.
Avoiding these winter weather problems can help you save on auto insurance quotes.