The scorching climate that prevails in most of India in the winter months is a welcome change. However, in other areas, they can seriously interfere with daily life. There are a few strategies to keep you and your car safe throughout the winter because it can be dangerous to drive. Here are some tips to help you drive safely and comfortably this winter.
Winter vehicle maintenance advice
Keeping your car in good condition is one of the most fundamental needs. Get regular maintenance performed on it, and don’t scrimp on repairing any parts that exhibit excessive wear and tear. This will lessen the possibility of a car breakdown.
Give it a good cleaning.
To ensure clear visibility, wash all the windows, wing mirrors, and lighting components (headlights, taillights, fog lamps, and others) with warm water. Avoid using hot water since the temperature difference could cause the glass to break. Remove any snow that may have accumulated on the roof in places where snowfall is frequent so that it won’t slide into the windscreen and impair your vision as you drive.
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Check the electrical systems.
Keep all of the lights on, both inside and outside the vehicle. The climate control system must work properly to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the cabin. To keep the windscreen clear of snow or debris, the wipers’ blades should be replaced as needed and their motor should be serviced. Maintaining a full tank of the proper combination of water and washer fluid is an additional step to keeping your wipers in operating order.
Check the engine.
Battery performance might be impacted by cold temperatures, which can also cause issues with the engine starting. If the battery is outdated, replace it and inspect the condition of all the connectors and leads. Due to the possibility of fluid gumminess at lower temperatures, the engine oil and coolant should also be examined and replaced as necessary.
Check the brakes first
Have the brakes cleaned and serviced because stopping distances might be negatively impacted by rain or snow. Check the brake pads, replace them if necessary, and clean and oil the brake calipers.
Check the tires
Make sure your tires are properly inflated in addition to having appropriate tread and being free of cuts or bubbles. When driving in slick circumstances, an overinflated tire makes it more likely that you will slide, while one that is underinflated won’t have enough traction. Think about upgrading to winter tires or snow tires, or even using snow chains; practice mounting these on the tires so you don’t panic trying to do it when you need to use them.
Given the rising demand for EVs in India, it’s critical to consider how to maintain them in the winter. It is advised against keeping your EV in extremely cold conditions for prolonged periods. For instance, Tata advises not keeping the Nexon EV for more than seven days in temperatures below -25 degrees. The cause of this is that extremely cold conditions may cause the lithium-ion batteries in EVs to freeze, making it impossible for the batteries to charge or operate the car. Additionally, it should be remembered that driving in extremely cold weather may result in a significant reduction in the EV’s range.
Winter driving fundamentals
Driving in slick circumstances is challenging and can be brought on by ice, water, debris, or an accident. To avoid losing control due to unexpected movements, one must always be careful when using the stop, accelerator, and steering.
The first thing to do if the automobile starts to slide on a rough area is to maintain your composure and focus on your destination. After that, turn the steering in the direction of the skid to straighten the vehicle; for instance, when the rear end steps out to the right, turn the steering in that direction.
When accelerating from a complete stop, do it gradually and avoid revving the engine in the lower ratios because traction will be less than usual. Consider starting in a higher gear, such as second, if your automobile has enough torque for it. Of course, take care not to harm your clutch. Some automatic transmissions have a winter/snow setting that shifts the vehicle into a higher gear upon startup to avoid wheel spin. Some cars also have winter/snow engine modes that softly increase power while limiting torque.
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Avoid reversing course, accelerating, or decelerating sharply in the middle of a turn. Instead, slow down before the turn and pick up speed once you’ve passed it.
Fog is also a result of cold weather, and driving in it demands additional preparations. Instead of using your high beam, which will reflect heavily off the fog and simply serve to strain your eyes, slow down and use your fog lamps and the low beam of your headlight. Keep enough distance between your car and the one in front of you so that there is room in case the latter suddenly comes to a halt.
A thin layer of ice known as “black ice” can also occur in some areas of India as a result of water melting and then refreezing on the ground. Although they can be difficult to spot, be aware of them and stay away from any smooth or glossy road surfaces.
Driving downhill necessitates maintaining a constant, modest speed on an already slick road. Avoid riding the brakes; instead, apply them gently and use engine braking to maintain control of your pace. This can be accomplished in a manual by engaging a lower gear, and in some automatics with manual control. In addition, some modes can be used to stop the automatic gearbox from upshifting. The system can overheat and stop working if you brake too hard or continually feather the brake pedal.
winter driving necessities for emergencies
There are occasions when an accident cannot be avoided. Mother Nature can simply be having a terrible day, or your car might break down without warning owing to an unforeseen problem. Therefore, keeping a few necessities in the car is advised in case the worst happens.
Keep warm, but also enjoy some fresh air.
In the event of a breakdown, a full gasoline tank will be beneficial. While you wait for assistance, you could turn on the climate control to stay warm inside the vehicle. However, keep in mind not to always do so in a basement, garage shed, or even in the open. When an engine is left idling, the HVAC system may release dangerous and deadly chemicals into the cabin, such as carbon monoxide. You won’t be aware that you are being poisoned because the gas has no color or smell. Just in case the climate control system breaks down or if you can’t use it, keep some blankets or warm clothing on hand.
Packs and chargers for batteries
If your car breaks down and your phone battery dies, things could get rather awkward. Keep a backup charger, a fully charged battery pack, and a spare battery in your car “as read and reported by www.autocarindia.com.”