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Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle for the RI Winter Season

The Rhode Island winters can be unpredictable, but they often consistently present major challenges to RI drivers as the ice and snow fall and colder temperatures set in. Slepkow Law recommends the following tips to winterize your vehicle for the upcoming season. Keeping your car maintained can prevent car failure and a Rhode Island car accident

Check tire pressure

Due to winter’s low temperatures, the air pressure in a cold tire can easily drop. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure points. According to, tire pressure can change by about 1 psi for every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature.

Snow tires can increase traction. A good set of winter tires can increase traction since they are optimized for snow and ice. Their tread patterns are designed for winter conditions, and they are made from softer rubber compounds that retain flexibility in the winter.

Check your vehicle’s four-wheel drive system

As temperatures get colder, engine oil gets thicker and does not circulate as well as a thinner oil. Without circulating oil, the engine won’t get proper lubrication. Read your owner’s manual for what type of oil your vehicle takes, and replace the engine oil, or have a mechanic change it.

Check belts and hoses

Cold temperatures can speed up wear and tear on belts and hoses – have them inspected by a certified mechanic before winter.

Check the battery

Extremely cold temperatures can reduce battery power by up to 50 percent. Clean any corrosion that may have built up on the posts and connections, and test your battery if it is older than three years old at a vehicle repair shop.

Check the antifreeze mixture

If you have a mixture of more water than antifreeze in your radiator, the water can freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an antifreeze tester from an auto parts store, you can check if the ratio is 50:50.

Replace windshield wipers.

Any worn or torn wipers will be compromised by the conditions. Check your washer fluid and add a de-icing solvent.

Check your gas tank frequently.

Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times in order to keep your gas lines from freezing. If you get stranded or lost, it will be useful to have extra gas as well.

Keep an emergency kit in your trunk while you travel, especially before embarking on a road trip.

Recommended items include: a blanket, extra boots and gloves, extra set of warm clothes, non-perishable food, paper towels, water, an ice scraper, a shovel and a first-aid kit.

To maintain your car, also keep the following items: windshield wiper fluid, windshield wipers, flares, jumper cables, a tool kit, tire chains, a tire gauge, a spare tire, tire-changing equipment and sand to provide additional tire traction when needed. If you or someone you love was hurt in an auto accident, talk with a RI car accident lawyer to protect your legal rights.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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