For safety’s sake, keep your car clean this winter

(CONSUMER REPORTS) — Winter driving can make your car filthy! All that mud, snow, salt, and ice can also be dangerous, especially if your car is newer. That’s because those advanced safety systems rely on clean sensors to work properly. Consumer Reports shows us how to keep the sensors and cameras clean and clear so they can keep you safe when you need them most.

Winter driving can get messy no matter where you live! And as Consumer Reports says, a dirty car isn’t just gross—it can actually be dangerous.

All the salt, spray, snow, and road grime that gets onto a vehicle in the wintertime can obscure the radars, the cameras, and the different sensors that you use for your safety systems. And while it doesn’t mean that they won’t work all the time, they may not be there when you most need them.

So it’s important to give your safety sensors a little extra care in the winter.

The one you’re going to use the most is the backup camera. So take a bucket of water, a little soap and you’re just going to want to go underneath and find the exposed camera.

If your car has parking assist, wipe away any debris from the bumper sensors.

Rear body panels house blind spot monitoring radars. Remove snow and salt so they can continue to detect objects out of your view.

And many new cars have radar sensors behind the front grille, so keep that area clean of impacted snow.

If your car has forward collision or lane departure warning, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the windshield where the camera and sensors are usually mounted. If you don’t get it clean, those sensors may get triggered while you’re driving as snow and mudslide!

So you’re going to want to clean these and make sure that they’re clean before you start driving. One final thing to consider. 360-degree camera systems are on some vehicles — usually, they are on the mirror area. You’re going to want to reach under here to make sure that these are clean just like the front and rear cameras.

Other things you should do in the winter? Show your tires some extra love as well. Check your tire pressure monthly, along with looking at the tire treads. And of course, always keep a full tank of gas, and if you drive an EV, don’t let the charge fall below 20 percent.

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