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Preparing your Vehicle (and yourself!) for Winter with Burlington Hyundai

Winter is Coming!

{Disclaimer: We have partnered together with our sponsors, Burlington Hyundai, to bring you this information about vehicle winter safety!}

December at Burlington Hyundai

It’s that time of year again! If you’ve driven on I-89 lately, you’ve seen the huge signs broadcasting the line “WINTER IS COMING” in a bright, lit-up, all-caps display; a steady reminder that it’s time to prepare our vehicles for optimum safety and performance in the upcoming winter months.

Our sponsors, Burlington Hyundai, have put together a list of things you can do to prepare your vehicle for winter, including tips and tricks to do on your own, how to winterize your vehicle, items to ask your mechanic about, and tips for keeping your child safe and warm in their car seat.

Tips & tricks for winter driving

Tips & Tricks Banner

Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle. Even if you never use it, it’s never a bad idea to be over prepared in case you end up in a sticky situation. Here’s a list of items that can be enormously useful should this happen:

○ Flares

○ Extra warmth! (warm clothing, blankets, gloves, boots, hand/feet warmers)

○ Ice scraper / small shovel

○ Extra engine oil, windshield wiper fluid and coolant

○ Flashlight

○ High-energy snacks (e.g. nuts, trail mix, granola bars)

○ Spare tire

○ Bag of salt, sand or kitty litter in case you need some extra traction on a slippery road

○ Jumper cables

○ Mobile phone charger

Keep your gas tank full.

We’ve been there: it’s freezing, and the last thing you want to do on your cold, dark drive home is stop at a gas station to fill your tank. However, in colder temperatures, condensation can form on the inside of your gas tank when there is little fuel in it, which can cause it to freeze. This can lead to unnecessary and costly repairs – so to be safe, it’s best to always keep a minimum of ¼-½ tank of gas in your vehicle.

Allow yourself some extra time during your commute.

Getting up earlier in the winter is tough! But it saves you from feeling rushed when you’re driving. Give yourself an extra 15-20 minutes of wiggle room so that if need be, you feel like you can slow down on the road without feeling the stress of not making it to your destination on time.

Consider altering your insurance coverage. 

This definitely isn’t a necessity, but an optional extra to think about. In cold, icy Vermont, it’s easy to get a rock kicked back into your windshield. Consider altering your insurance plan for a lower-cost glass deductible – it could really save your wallet if you do end up with a crack in your windshield from ice and rock spray on the road, plus it’s a pretty minimal increase to your monthly rate.

 

Winterizing your vehicle

The list below will show you the items in your vehicle that should be checked and up to par before the freezing months and winter weather is fully upon us. Have your service technician perform a tune-up and ask them to take a look at the following items.Winterizing your Car Checklist

 

Check your engine coolant

This protects your engine against corrosion, and in the winter months you sometimes need to alter the type of coolant you’re using to maintain the proper mix of antifreeze and water. Generally, this should be done every two years at minimum.

Check your battery, belts & hoses

Extremely cold weather can reduce your vehicle’s battery life up to 50 percent, so generating power can be a slower process in the cold. Have your mechanic run a battery load test, and ask them to check that your battery connections aren’t corroded.

Have your brakes checked

This one is a bit of a give-in, since your brakes are one of your most important safety items!

Check your oil, and have it adjusted for cold temperatures

Outside temps will, unsurprisingly, affect internal temps in your engine. In winter months, you want to switch to a thinner, less viscous oil, since cold temperatures can cause your oil to thicken.

Check your tire pressure, and put on snow tires!

Optimal tire pressure will give you better traction on the road; make sure your tires are properly inflated, as cold weather can cause your tire pressure to drop. (Note: most gas stations that have air pumps will have knowledgeable attendants who can help if you have any questions about putting air in your tires. If you’re unsure in any way, just ask for help inside!)

Snow tires are essential if you’re a Vermonter, even if your vehicle has all-wheel or four-wheel drive. Check out Burlington Hyundai’s Winter Tire Guide, which will tell you everything you need to know about putting winter tires on your vehicle; the difference that the type of tire makes on two-wheel drive, AWD and 4WD vehicles, as well as which kind of tires perform optimally in which conditions. Remember, if you skid on an icy road, don’t slam on your brakes! Take your foot off of the gas and coast to a stop. Over-correcting can be perilous, especially in slippery winter conditions!

Replace your wiper blades and stock up on wiper fluid

We suggest replacing your wiper blades every six to 12 months, so consider changing your blades for the season or even getting blades that are specifically designed for icy, wintry conditions. Also make sure that your windshield wiper fluid is full, and keep a spare jug in your vehicle – it’s amazing how quickly we go through that stuff in the winter!

Have your heater and defroster checked

Even if it’s just for personal comfort, make sure your heater is working properly. Plus, your windshield defroster is key in the winter to maximize visibility, so make sure that is in good, solid working condition as well.

Inspect lights and bulbs

For safety and visibility! This one is easy to do at home, just grab headlight/taillight cleaner, which is available at most hardware stores and vehicle service centers. You can also easily find it online! The same goes for bulbs, just take a look at your Owner’s Manual to see which bulbs you should purchase and learn how to install them correctly.

Get your vehicle detailed

Not a necessity, but salt damage can occur on the exterior of your vehicle if you don’t have wax on there to protect your paint job.

 

Tips for keeping your child safe and warm in their car seat*

Burlington Hyundai Customers - The Johnson Family - Car Seat Safety

 

Bulky, puffy jackets (you know, the really warm ones that save us from Vermont winter) can create too much of a barrier between your child and the harness of their car seat. Here are some tips we found via Consumer Reports to help keep your child warm without compromising their safety.

● Dress your child in lots of thin, tight layers underneath their coat

● Pack a hat and mittens for the ride

● After securing your child in the carseat, put their winter coat over them backwards like a blanket, with their arms through the holes

● Bring a warm blanket to place over them

 

Take care of your wallet, too.

Now through the end of the month, if you purchase a used vehicle from Burlington Hyundai Subaru, you get four free snow tires for it! They also have specials running for winter tire changeovers and purchases. Check out their specials page for more information!

Thank you for reading! We hope you have a safe and trouble-free season of winter driving. If you have any questions at all regarding your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to give Burlington Hyundai a call at (802) 448-3890, or check out their website.

 

Happy driving, everyone!

Winter Pic 1

*These are safety precautions and tips found solely on the Internet – we are not experts in car-seat safety and have not verified or tested these means of safety and/or warmth provision.

     

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