The cold weather is here and for drivers, it means cold temperatures, unpredictable weather, and horrible road conditions. It’s the worst time of year to find yourself stuck on the side of the road or without reliable transportation. All car owners are advised to make sure that they complete routine maintenance to keep their car in working order. As the winter can often be the harshest to your vehicle, you’ll want to go the extra mile to make sure you’re safe.

Car Maintenance on a Budget

Like most car owners, you’ve probably put off getting your car ready for the winter because you don’t have the money for it. As your safety, comfort, and convenience rank priority, it is strongly advised that you get the maintenance done. If you don’t have money for maintenance on your vehicle right now, you can consider options like taking out a short term loan, dipping into your emergency savings, selling some things around the house, doing some of the maintenance yourself, or asking friends and family for a bit of assistance.

Winter Maintenance Checklist

Once you’ve accumulated the necessary funds to have maintenance done on your car, here is a list of things you need to get handled.

  • Inspect your lights – you don’t want to end up in traffic with a blown light as the skies and roads get a lot darker in the winter. Do an inspection to make sure all of your vehicle lights work. If not, replace the bulb or have a mechanic make a repair if necessary.
  • Replace your battery – the freezing temperatures make it difficult for car batteries to operate efficiently. If you haven’t had your battery replaced in a while, you need to have it volt tested. If the voltage is low, asking a mechanic to replace it is recommended.
  • Coolant – antifreeze serves as a coolant for the engine. It not only keeps the engine from overheating but keeps it functional in freezing temperatures. Check your antifreeze levels to make sure it’s full. If you notice a neon green liquid leaking from the engine or underneath the car, you need to have this checked.
  • Tires – the often horrible conditions on the road from snow, ice, and salt can wreak havoc on your vehicle and put you at greater risk of getting in an accident. You can reduce the chances of this happening by having your tires checked. If it is determined that your tires no longer have tread, you should invest in new ones.
  • Oil and Filters – last but not least you want to make sure that your engine has all the support it needs to work. This means changing the oil and filters. This is a task you can do yourself, or you can have a mechanic do it for you at a reasonable rate.

You don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road in the middle of a storm or in freezing temperatures. You also don’t want the hassle of trying to commute using public transportation because your car gave out on you. As unpredictable and harsh as the winter weather can be, the only way to reduce the likelihood of the above circumstances from happening to you is to complete the winter maintenance checklist.