In Montana, winter driving can be a nightmare. Black ice, snow, and blizzards can make driving dangerous, if not impossible, feat. Even in good winter weather conditions, the cold can impact the way your vehicle operates. It is important to prepare for seasonal driving by “winterizing” your vehicle. There are things you can do to make your vehicle better able to handle icy roads, as well as to prepare in case of an emergency. Use this list as a wintertime vehicle prep guide.

Ready Your Windshield

Winter weather can make it difficult enough to see without a windshield that makes matters worse. Check your wiper blades to make sure they’re ready to wipe away precipitation and ice. Replace wiper blades if they look worn down or frayed. Refill wiper fluid as necessary. Purchase winter wiper fluid to help prevent it from freezing in your reservoir.

Winterize Your Tires

Your vehicle’s tires are its connection point with the ground. Bald, worn, or tires unfit to drive on icy roads can cause an accident. Prep your tires for Montana’s snowy conditions by swapping out your summer tires for winter ones. Snow tires have softer rubber that makes them extra flexible even in freezing conditions. They also have special tread for slip resistance. Talk to your mechanic about the appropriate tires for your vehicle.

Refill Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a vital part of Montana winters. Check the level of your antifreeze solution in your radiator. You should have about 50% antifreeze and 50% water in your coolant solution to prevent it from freezing. If you currently only have water, you’re at risk of a frozen radiator. Check the composition of your fluid using an over-the-counter tester, or ask your mechanic to check for you.

Check Your Oil

As temperatures drop, the engine oil in your vehicle may not retain its viscosity to properly lubricate components. The cold can thicken the oil, making it work harder to circulate through your engine. Get a wintertime oil change, and replace your oil with a thinner version to prevent it from thickening too much. The owner’s manual of your vehicle should have information about which kind of oil is best for Montana’s cold winters.

Don’t Forget the Battery

Battery problems are common in cold weather. The battery’s capacity reduces in winter, which can lead to a car that won’t start. Check your battery cables for breaks, rust, and loose connections. Check battery fluid and refill with distilled water if necessary. Read the level of charge in your battery by using a handheld hydrometer if no built-in reader exists. Consider replacing or recharging your battery in preparation for cold weather.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Preventive vehicle maintenance can minimize the risk of your car breaking down during the winter. It’s wise, however, to pack an emergency kit just in case. That way, you and your family can stay safe even if you get stuck on the side of the road in the cold. Your emergency kit should include blankets, winter gloves and hats, a flashlight, nonperishable food items, bottled water, a battery-powered radio, matches, a first aid kit, flares, an ice scraper, jumper cables, extra antifreeze, and a bag of sand for fixing stuck tires.

The Billings truck accident attorneys at Heenan & Cook are dedicated to helping you with compensation after an injury that was not your fault. If you were injured from a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence they can help you lead you through the legal process.