It's winter; it's dark in the morning, and the sun sets early. Short days mean more hours spent driving in low- or no-light conditions. That's bad enough on its own, but add the extra complication of nasty weather to the already gloomy season, and you've got a driving challenge.
When it's snowing, sleeting, or even just raining, you need every system working at its best. Often it's the simplest things that can turn out to have the biggest impact. Here's an example: when was the last time you even thought about your wiper blades?
Now, even if you don't live in an area that sees frosty conditions, it's all too easy to forget about those little things until they become big problems. There are no rest stops in the middle of a sudden downpour or a freak storm. If it seems like an unnecessary additional expense, a quick review of your insurance deductible or some body shop quotes for repairing relatively minor damage will make this seem like the bargain of the century.
Being able to see is the number one safety feature any vehicle can offer the driver, and it's also one of the easiest things to ensure is up to snuff. Wiper blades, headlight bulbs, and clean windows are pretty much all it takes. Don't neglect the inside surface of windows, either. Environmental contamination floats around in the air, and the plastics in your car's interior give off gases that build up on the glass and attract other gunk. A quick once-over every few weeks with some glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth makes a huge difference, especially at night. Another benefit to clean windows is that they don't fog as easily.
If your car has been using the same wiper blades for a year, it's probably time to change them. Your dealer's service department will know exactly what fits, and can install them quickly.
Head lamps are, surprisingly, often neglected. In winter weather, make it a point to stop and clean the lenses occasionally to keep built-up frozen gunk from reducing the illumination in a gradual way that sneaks up on you. Some cars have headlamp washers, and just as it's important to make sure the windshield washer nozzles spray correctly and the reservoir is full of fluid, take the time to verify your head lamp washer system is working. All you have to do is look.
If you've got a headlamp bulb out, you're probably required by law to get it repaired, though many drivers suffer along, instead. Many bulbs are easy and inexpensive to change yourself, while some other lighting systems can be much more involved. If you're unsure, you can be certain it's nothing your service department hasn't seen, so they'll know exactly what it takes to fix it.
While we spend the dark, winter months waiting for the return of spring, a few quick checks and simple, inexpensive repairs will better your chances of making it through winter unscathed.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.