While winter conditions are covering most of the country, many car owners are struggling to deal with the cold temperatures and challenging road conditions. Here are some tips to keep your Toyota running at its best when it is cold and dealing withsituations where you might become stuck.
Before we begin, while it is terribly cold or nasty outside, your car is dealing with the same conditions. Taking a few minutes to help keep it maintained will help you not be stranded.
Cold weather tips:
- Keep your gas tank at least half-full. Running your gas tank lower than this can result in frozen gas lines.
- Pop the hood and look over the battery. Make sure your connections are corrosion free and the battery is newer. Old batteries take a toll in cold weather and can become zapped really easy.
- While you are under the hood, check your antifreeze. Your antifreeze is key to keeping your engine running at its optimal level. If you have a summer blend (more water than antifreeze), will want to switch this out with more of a winter blend (less water, more antifreeze).
- Be aware of your parking brake usage. While yes, it is always a good idea to engage your parking brake whenever you are parked, during really cold times of the year, it may not be so smart. Having the parking brake engaged during an especially cold period of time could cause it to become frozen and then you will really be stuck.
- Check your doors and door locks before using your key. Quite often, your door lock can become frozen during cold temperatures and you might snap your key off. If you think that your door lock could possibly be frozen, spray it with de-icer or warm it up somehow. One idea would be to heat your key with a lighter’s flame, then insert and remove the key to warm up the lock. A snapped key in a door lock is not something anybody wants.
- While scrapping your vehicle free of ice, make sure to use this time to warm up the engine. Ideally, you will want your car running for at least 5 minutes before driving it anywhere.
- Lastly, and probably most importantly, put together a winter survival kit to keep in your vehicle. This kit should contain snacks, water and warm clothing. You will also want to carry a showel, sand or kitty litter or traction mats in case you get stuck.
In the event, you do get stuck, remember to first relax and take a good assessment of your situation. Rash decisions can only make your situation worse.