Winter Vehicle Prep Tips to Save You Money This Season
As Americans, we rely on our personal vehicles to get around. And with roughly 40 million sales of used cars taking place throughout the U.S. during 2018, it’s clear that many of us are looking to save money on transportation costs. As a result, it might be tempting to put off necessary maintenance or cut corners to ensure your expenditures stay low. But as a result, you might end up paying more over time — both in terms of monetary investment and potentially your own safety.
Whether you operate a Class 8 truck (which weighs 33,001 pounds or more) or a modest two-seater, it’s essential to prepare your vehicle for the worst. That’s especially true in winter, when inclement weather can really throw us for a loop — and potentially off the road. Although maintenance and repairs won’t come for free, the truth is that the preventative costs will be far less than what you’ll pay if you let an issue worsen over time. With 52% of personal injury lawsuits coming from car accidents, it’s smart not to let a vehicular problem lead to a driving incident. You’ll end up wishing you had just paid for an initial fix rather than be stuck with accident damages, major replacement, or safety consequences.
If you’re looking to save money and prioritize the health of your family this season, it’s time to think about prepping your vehicle for the winter. Here are some tips to ensure your vehicle is adequately equipped and that you’ll curb your spending in the long term.
Conduct the Proper Checks
Often, car components give out in winter due to the extreme temperatures — particularly if those parts are nearing the end of their natural lifespan. You might not be able to completely avoid part replacement, but you can avoid having to pay for emergency roadside assistance or a rush order on a part if you properly prepare. You’ll want to check out your car’s battery, tire pressure, coolant levels, oil, wipers and washer fluid, headlights, and brakes before winter really hits. By conducting inspections on your own or having your car looked at by a professional now, you may be able to sidestep the possibility of ignition issues or other road safety concerns.
Consider Changing Your Tires
Automobiles and trucks are among the biggest lubricant consumers, as they use 20 million tons per year. If you travel a lot during the winter or live in a harsh climate, you may want to worry about more than fuel economy. Your tires could have a big impact on your ability to stay safe on the road (and avoid costly accidents). While you should certainly keep an eye on the tire pressure, the tire tread matters, too. Since the treads of your tires are what will grip the ground and shed water, worn-out tire treads can make it hard to maintain good traction. You’ll want to replace your tires if the tread is getting low. You might even consider switching to snow tires if it makes sense for your needs, though they could be an added and unnecessary expense for some vehicle owners.
Add an Emergency Kit
While saving money is probably important to you, saving your life (or someone else’s) should be a bit higher on your list of priorities. At the very least, being able to avoid making emergency purchases can keep your bank account healthier this season. Make sure your car’s winter road kit is stocked with warm clothing, a blanket, a backup cell phone, a car charger, water and food, a first-aid kit, a shovel, road salt or kitty litter, a snow brush with an ice scraper, rags or paper towels, a flashlight and batteries, road flares, jumper cables, and a basic tool kit. Whether you’re stranded or you need to provide assistance to someone else, having this type of supply kit already in your car can provide peace of mind and a means of survival. You might not relish the thought of spending money on items you hope to never need, but most motorists find it’s well worth the investment. Worst case scenario, you may not need to stop for snacks or search for hard-to-find items when you’re traveling in an unfamiliar place.
While skipping out on regular maintenance and repairs might seem like a good way to save money, it can really cost you down the road. By keeping tabs on your car’s overall condition and replacing components when necessary, you can save yourself from paying higher costs and suffering major consequences due to negligence.