Don’t Get Stuck Out in the Cold: Prepare Your Car for Winter
Who hasn’t slipped and slid across an icy road or struggled to see clearly out of a foggy windshield? The cold winter months bring an increase in dangerous driving conditions. Make sure your car is up to the test.
First, think tires. Avoid that frightening feeling you get when your car has little traction during inclement weather conditions by putting on a set of winter tires. Today’s winter tires are designed for snow and ice performance, with tread that reduces the risk of slipping and allows for better traction. Remember, the only part of your vehicle that touches the ground is the tire.
In addition to the right tires, you also need appropriate car maintenance.
“To help remain safe on winter’s icy roads, adopt good vehicle maintenance practices,” advises Trisha Hessinger, car education specialist and pace car driver. “Firestone Tire and Service Centers offer winter car care tips to help bolster car performance -and driver confidence – during the colder months.”
As in all seasons, make sure tires are properly inflated, rotated, aligned and replaced as necessary. But as outside temperatures drop, the air inside a tire contracts and the pressure is reduced. Therefore, check your tire pressure often during colder months. Underinflation will lessen the gripping action because the tread will not meet the road surface as it is designed to do; this also occurs with overinflation.
Tires should be checked weekly at times when the tires have been driven less than a mile or have not moved in at least three hours.
Other vehicle components that need to be checked by a certified automotive technician include the engine, battery, exhaust, heating and defrosting systems. Also, make sure the vehicle’s main
fluids are filled to the recommended levels.
With regard to fuel, drivers should keep their gas tanks full throughout the winter, as the extra volume can help lessen moisture problems within the fuel system and add helpful weight.
You’ll be thankful for the added driving control and feeling of security that winter tires and the right maintenance will give you the next time you get behind the wheel during a snow storm.