Winter driving can leave your car covered in mud, snow, salt, and ice, posing potential dangers, especially for newer vehicles relying on advanced safety systems. Consumer Reports provides insights on how to maintain clean and clear sensors and cameras, ensuring these safety features function properly for your protection during winter conditions.
The winter elements, such as salt, spray, snow, and road grime, can obscure the radars, cameras, and sensors crucial for safety systems. While they may not malfunction all the time, there’s a risk they won’t be reliable when needed the most. Therefore, it’s essential to give extra care to your safety sensors during the winter months.
Begin with the backup camera, a frequently used safety feature. Use a bucket of water and a bit of soap to clean the exposed camera underneath the vehicle. For cars equipped with parking assist, clear any debris from the bumper sensors.
Blind spot monitoring radars are often located in rear body panels, so remove snow and salt to ensure they can continue detecting objects outside your field of view.
Many modern cars have radar sensors behind the front grille, requiring regular cleaning to prevent snow accumulation. Vehicles with forward collision or lane departure warning systems have cameras and sensors typically mounted on the windshield.
Ensuring these areas are clean is crucial, as sensors triggered by snow and mud can disrupt their proper functioning while driving.
Before hitting the road, take the time to clean these sensors thoroughly. Additionally, for vehicles with 360-degree camera systems, often located in the mirror area, ensure they are clean, just like the front and rear cameras.
In addition to sensor care, it’s essential to show some extra love to your tires during winter. Check tire pressure and treads monthly, and always keep an eye on your gas tank levels. For electric vehicle (EV) owners, maintaining a charge above 20% is advisable for optimal performance during winter driving conditions.