You may be thinking it’s too early to think about winter, but… summer is over and in a blink of an eye, it’s cold again! We want you to be prepared for the cold weather to come. Check out this list of tips to prep your car for winter.
Check Your Wiper Fluid
Car talk recommends, “Winter wipers – with the rubber coverings that keep ice from collecting
on the blade – have become very popular. They’re great in the winter, but make sure you take
them off in the spring. Winter wipers are heavy, and if you use them all summer, you’ll wear out
the wiper motor prematurely.
And when using your wipers in the winter, remember to turn them off BEFORE shutting off
the engine. Why? Water frequently freezes overnight during the winter. And if your blades
freeze to the windshield, when you go to start your car, the wiper motor may burn out trying to
get them back to the “rest position.”
Switch to Winter-Grade Oil
Since oil’s viscosity is affected by cold temperatures, you may also need to switch to a
winter-grade oil, according to Popular Mechanics. Your engine’s oil becomes thinner as the
temperature rises, so in warmer climates, a thicker, higher-viscosity oil will help keep your
engine properly lubricated. For the same reason, heavier oils aren’t as effective in cold, blustery
conditions. Check the owner’s manual to be sure you’re choosing the right kind or talk to your
While you’re checking your fluids, it doesn’t hurt to inspect some other odds and ends under the
hood that may fail in extreme conditions. For example, seasonal changes are a good time to make
sure your cooling system is in working order, your battery is charged and the rubber of your
vehicle’s hoses is in good shape, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Check Your Tires
Have you ever gone to brush the snow off your windshield in the morning and seen that your
tires have gotten low overnight? As the temperatures get lower, so does your air tire pressure.
Tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature,
according to Car Talk. Low tire pressure can dangerously affect your car’s handling, so it’s
important to keep your tires properly inflated.
The right tires matter, especially in the winter. With black-ice and snow days, having tires
especially designed for snow is essential. Here’s the difference between regular tires and snow
tires according to Bridgestone.
The Tread Rubber – In extreme cold temperatures, the tread rubber of an all season or summer
tire stiffens and becomes less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, tread rubber
compounds of winter tires are designed to remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road
The Tread Depth and Patterns – A unique feature of winter tires is deeper tread depths and
unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and provide better traction on
the snow. Winter tire tread patterns are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.
Biting Edges – Winter tires also feature an increased number of biting edges and high speed
densities, or in other words, thousands of tiny slits in the tread that provide traction on ice.
Bridgestone Blizzak tires also feature a proprietary multi-cell compound that acts as a sponge to
help remove the thin layer of water that resides on ice and cause slippage. This helps to improve
traction in icy conditions so you can maintain control of your vehicle. Check out our Blizzak
DM-V2 winter tire for a closer look at how this tire provides confident driving in snow and icy
Check Your Car’s Exterior
Check the outside of your car to ensure headlights are in working order — Car Talk recommends
cleaning the lenses of your exterior lights and replacing any burnt-out bulbs. You’ll also want to
make sure the windshield wipers are in working condition, says the NHTSA. Windshield wipers
are constantly subjected to the elements, so it’s important to replace worn or dried-out wiper
blades regularly to maintain visibility, especially if a snowstorm is headed your way.
In addition to keeping a year-round emergency road kit in your car, consider adding a special
winter emergency kit that includes:
– A shovel.
– An ice scraper.
– Sand or kitty litter (for traction on slippery roads).
Failed brake pads can be detrimental. You may ride your brakes more in the winter, because of
harsh weather. Make sure they are in great condition before winter hits.
– Listen for squealing: The occasional squeak when brakes get wet is one thing, but
consistent noise suggests that your brake pads have worn down to the point where they
need to be replaced.
– Braking feels strange: It can be different to describe, but sometimes brakes will feel
thicker than normal when you press the pedal. Your car may also take longer to stop.
This is a sign to inspect the pads.
– Car pulls to one side: If some brake pads are wearing at different rates than others,
your car may be more difficult to control when stopping.
Utah can have icy winters. Investment Auto wants you to be as safe as possible when the seasons change. Follow these tips for a safe winter. If you are in the market for a quality pre-owned car, contact Investment Auto today.