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The Safest Used Cars Are Those That Are Well Cared For in Kansas City

When it comes to winter driving, Kansas City car owners know that ensuring their vehicles are road-ready is the first step before getting behind the wheel. Keep reading to discover steps you can take to ensure your ride gets you where you need to go all season long.

Buy a Reliable Used Car for Sale in Kansas City

Before diving into winter maintenance on a vehicle that requires extensive repair or that is unreliable and dead in the driveway, consider instead upgrading your ride. The same goes for if your used car isn’t the safest; perhaps it has a salvage title or frequently breaks down. Before cold winter weather hits, shop for a new-to-you used car for sale in Kansas City from a reputable car lot in your area. The amount you’ll spend on a down payment is a smarter investment over paying to maintain or repair a vehicle you don’t think will last you throughout the season.

mechanic checking off list by car

Never Slam on Your Brakes

Oil Change

Most gas-powered used cars require an oil change every three months or 3,000 miles driven. This is to ensure that all the moving parts in your engine have adequate lubrication. Without oil, parts create friction as they move back and forth against each other, which can cause engine failure and costly repairs. Of course, modern vehicles can require less frequent oil changes. That’s why it’s vital to refer to your car owner’s manual for guidance on how often to change the oil in your vehicle and the type of oil, such as synthetic, to use. You may also want to use a type of oil that maintains its viscosity, or thickness, in colder temperatures as you perform winter car maintenance. Keep in mind that if you drive an electric vehicle, you will not need oil changes, as your car lacks a traditional engine that requires lubrication.

Snow Tires or Tire Rotation

It’s hard to say exactly what goes into making the safest used cars, but one surefire way to reduce your risk of accidents on icy or snowy roads is to swap your all-season tires for snow tires. Snow tires are made of rubber that stays malleable, or soft, in colder temperatures. Your all-purpose tires can harden as the temperature drops and offer less grip on the road, making for more dangerous winter driving. If you don’t want to spend the money on buying special winter tires, make sure your all-season ones are in good condition and have them rotated, balanced, and aligned so they wear more evenly and last longer. You may even find that you get slightly better fuel economy as a result!

Windshield Wipers

Your windshield wiper blades are made of a rubberized material that wears down over time. It can crack, tear, or simply degrade. Replacing your windshield wiper blades is an important part of winter car maintenanceto help keep your vision clear through your windshield. You can buy and install windshield wiper blades yourself; simply visit your local auto parts store. Ask for help in determining which size and style you need for your vehicle, or use their in-store reference material. Remember to never use your windshield wipers when your windshield is frozen; ice can damage your blade and wiper assembly, leading to more frequent replacement.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Just as you want to replace your wiper blades, ensure your windshield wiper fluid reservoir is filled up with fluid designed not to freeze in cold temperatures. You can visually determine whether you need to refill your fluid tank, which is found under the hood of your car.

Other Fluids

Before winter driving begins, check on the levels of the other fluids in your vehicle, such as your transmission fluid. Check transmission fluid level and quality with your engine running, or ask for help from a knowledgeable friend or family member.

Gas Tank

It’s unlikely that it will ever get cold enough in Kansas City for the gas in your gas tank to freeze, as its freezing point is at -100℉. The lowest average winter temperature in our area is 24℉. However, you should still ensure you’re keeping your gas tank as full as possible, never letting your gas light come on. In part, this is important to prevent getting stranded on the side of the road in the dead of winter, but it’s also just good winter car maintenance.To minimize condensation and prevent frozen fuel lines, keep at least a half-tank of gas at all times.

Emergency Roadside Kit

Be prepared for winter driving by keeping safety in mind at all times. Assemble a roadside emergency kit with special cold-weather items inside, just in case you are ever stranded or break down. You can buy a pre-made kit or make one yourself. Add a spare winter coat, blanket, boots, gloves, and hat for yourself and any passengers you frequently drive around. Stash your kit inside your vehicle, such as in your trunk or cargo area, where you can easily reach it when you need it.

Car Wash

To prevent ice from forming on roads, city maintenance teams drop salt solutions on streets and highways as they plow. This salt solution is for everyone’s safety, but a build-up of it over time on your car can lead to early rust and other damage. During warmer winter days well above freezing, consider getting your car washed, focusing on rinsing off the undercarriage and body panels closest to the ground. Try to wash your car a handful of times during the winter season as temperatures allow.

Get Professional Help With Winter Car Maintenance

If you’re new to car ownership or simply don’t know a lot about caring for your ride, it’s best to enlist the help of someone who understands. This can be a professional, or it could simply be a more experienced friend or family member, such as your dad, brother, aunt, or bestie.