The leaves are falling, and we all know the flurries aren’t far behind! Some of us dread winter and the cold, others embrace this icy time of year and rejoice at the chance to return to their favorite mountain lodge with a season pass. Now is the time to check up on your car, SUV, or truck to ensure you have a reliable startup and a safe drive throughout your journey that gets you to your intended destination. There’s a number of easy tasks and check-ups you can do on your own or through your mechanic to be sure your car is ready for the snow and ice. Our list of three go-to rules of thumb provides a comprehensive checklist so you can drive at your most confident!
Cold temperatures and slippery roads mean driving demands more out of your vehicle’s systems to start and maintain a controlled momentum, but you can ease this strain a bit by making sure your car’s equipment is still in a like-new condition and performing to the best of its ability.
Tires: The tread left on your tires tends to be people’s first check to ensure their vehicle has enough traction to get you through bad conditions. That’s not all you should be considering when giving your vehicle a winter once-over; cold temperatures naturally shrinks air pressure, meaning your tires will be less full. Check your tire pressure. Consult your owner’s manual for the exact pressure you should fill them with for best cold-weather performance. A secondary place to check for proper tire pressure, according to Victory Layne Chevrolet (Ft. Myers), is on your car’s front door jam stickers. Snow tires are worth considering, and if you live in areas with extreme snowfall, studs or chains can aid the control of your vehicle stupendously!
Windshield wipers: Keeping your vision clear through rain, sleet, or snow, wipers go through a lot of wear and tear in the winter to clear away rough ice. Standard lifetime for wipers is between six and twelve months depending the weather they’re exposed to. There are specialized winter wipers you can buy that prevent icy buildup while you’re travelling through a storm. We also recommend buying winter washer fluid! This comes with an antifreeze agent mixed in to prevent it freezing on your windshield and aids in defrosting. Always stand your wipers up when you expect snowfall, and never engage your windshield wipers should you forget to do this. You don’t want to burn out your wiper motors for when you most need them!
Battery: Frosty mornings and bitter evenings demand more current from your battery in order to get a reliable roar from your engine with every turn of your key. You want a battery that’s still full on charge, and these days some batteries come with a built-in hydrometer for a one-look assessment of how much voltage is left. Before you turn over your engine, turn on your headlights then key the car into starting up; if your lights get brighter afterwards, your battery might be low on juice! Your mechanic can easily follow up on your concerns with their own voltmeter to get an exact read on what charge your battery has left.