Since the freezing cold and snowy roads can stop you in your tracks, it’s well worth the small effort it takes to get your car winter worthy.
The first thing you need to check is your battery. Most only have a lifespan of four or five years – after that, they can’t hold or produce their maximum capacity.
“In the colder temperatures, your engine oil, all your fluids are a lot colder, they’re a lot thicker,” said Vice-President of Nelson’s Services, Patrick Ripsky. “It takes a lot more power to get the engine turning with the starter. The starter turns with the power from the battery. If those fluids are too cold it takes a lot of power out of the battery, if the battery is weak you might not even be able to get the engine cranking fast enough.
If your battery is getting old, repair shops can check your battery’s voltage output to tell you whether or not it’s up to the task of cold weather starts.
The next things you should check are your tires. Driving on worn tires in the winter is one of the most dangerous things you can do – you are much more likely to lose control of your car on wet roads. Thankfully, it’s easy to tell their condition.
“All these tires these days have a wear bar that’s across the tire across each of the rain grooves in the tire,” said Ripsky. “If you put your finger in and you can easily touch the wear bars between the tread, the tire is pretty worn down and should be replaced.”
Keep in mind that tire air pressure tends to decrease as temperatures get colder. Be sure to check your tire pressure and refill it to the factory rated PSI as listed on a sticker on your driver’s side door jam.
Ripsky also recommends beam-style wiper blades, which do a better job of clearing snow and ice from your windshield than bracket-style blades.
It’s also a good idea to pack a winter emergency kit. Some essentials include a blanket, warm hat and gloves, flashlight, and something to help get you out of the snow.
One last tip: it’s always good to keep up-to-date with your oil changes, especially as winter approaches.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.