Your car insurance can protect you and cover damage to your vehicle in any driving condition, but winter in Massachusetts can be harsh. The key to safe winter driving is to plan ahead, know your vehicle and adapt to the current weather conditions.
As the days get shorter and nights get colder, it’s time to think about winterizing your car before the winter weather sets in. According to the American Automobile Association, there are a number of items we can check, maintain and replace to prepare the car for winter weather in Massachusetts.
Check the battery – Know the life expectancy of your battery. Any previous troubles starting the engine will be especially susceptible to failure in colder temperatures. Your local mechanic can test your battery to make sure it is in good working order. Think about carrying jumper cables, just in case.
Check the tires – Inspect to be sure they are properly inflated and have enough tread to provide sufficient wet traction. Cars driven in the winter months in Massachusetts should have tires that are rated “all-season”, at a minimum. Consider purchasing a set of snow tires before the first snowfall.
Check the engine – Oil should be changed regularly. Heading into winter, antifreeze, air filter, belts and hoses should also be checked. Your local mechanic can check the hoses and belts for signs of weakness or stress. Keep in mind that antifreeze typically lasts between 2 to 5 years, depending on the type.
Check the washer fluid and wiper blades – As a regular maintenance item, wiper blades tend only to last one to two years. Be sure to also top off your washer fluid, and keep an extra bottle around for frequent refilling.
Consider keeping cold weather kit in your car – In the unfortunate event of breakdown, a cold weather kit may prove invaluable, particularly if you tend to drive late in the evening or on roadways that are not well traveled. In addition to keeping your cell phone fully charged, here are some items you may want to include:
- Heavy coat, hat and gloves
- Snow brush and scraper
- Snow shovel
- Bag of sand or salt
- Flash light, flairs, first aid kit
- An energy bar or two
- Paper towels
Know the weather conditions – Before you head out, it is essential to know the weather conditions in order to be best prepared. It is also important to know the current road conditions. Go to www.511.org or call 511 from your cell phone or any of the following from either your cell phone or landline phone:
- Metro Boston: (617) 986-5511
- Central Mass: (508) 499-5511
- Western Mass: (413) 754-5511
The time to find out that your insurance coverage is incomplete is NOT after you have a claim. Take a moment and review your car insurance policy.
We’re here to help. For a no cost, no obligation review and comparison of your insurance please contact us.