As all of us Michiganders know, winter driving conditions can be hazardous due to many factors including snow and ice on the road. It’s important that you are personally ready for winter driving, it’s also important that your car is ready for the challenge. Check out these recommendations in our car winterization checklist below to help handle winter road conditions.
Before you get on the road to endure any harsh winter conditions, have your vehicle serviced to prepare it for all the upcoming challenges winter can cause.
Battery Check– Your battery power decreases as the temperature drops, which means that it will take more power to start your car in the winter. If your battery is already having problems, the risk of breaking down or not starting increases. It’s recommended that you have a battery installed with at or above 600 CCA for optimal winter performance.
Coolant/Anti-Freeze Protection Level Checked– It’s recommended to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. Make sure to ask your local technician what antifreeze works best for your vehicle and which appropriate coolant-to-water ratio to prevent any corrosion and potential freezing during the winter.
Brakes- Cold weather doesn’t necessarily hurt your brakes, but we suggest a thorough inspection to ensure the best performance when driving during the winter.
Belts, Hoses, Spark Plugs, Wires, and Cables– These car parts can turn bad at any time of the year, but given the cold winter months, if they do go bad during this time, you could be stranded in a very cold place for awhile which would not be a good time.
Pre-Trip Inspection Before Holiday Trips- We strongly suggest asking your local technician to go through a pre-trip inspection of your entire vehicle. Ensure that all parts are functioning properly and running efficiently to make sure you can get from point A to point B. Nobody wants to get stuck halfway through their trip and late for dinner!
You can use all-season tires in winter conditions however, it won’t offer the maximum performance you may need. If you live in a place that goes through extremely cold winter temperatures, we recommend that you switch to winter tires when going through the winterizing process. When temperatures hover around or below freezing, the rubber compounds in the non-winter tires will harden, which decreases the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds that resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction in ice, snow, slush, and even dry roads.
With every 10-degree change in temperature could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI. This means that you should regularly check tire pressure during the winter months. You can find the appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle on the tire placard on the driver’s side door jamb or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
Winter wipers are made with rubber that helps keep ice from collecting on the blades. Just make sure to remove these when spring comes around. Since winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on year-round will increase the load on the wiper motor.
Make sure to be aware of your windshield wiper fluid levels. A single snowstorm can use up a large amount of this fluid, so refill the washer reservoir frequently with a fluid that is specific for winter conditions. If you don’t know if your washer fluid is the right one for low temperatures, you can add a bottle of antifreeze. You can find it at most auto part stores.
Being unable to see behind you could create an unsafe driving environment. When winterizing your car, check your rear-window defroster before cold temperatures arrive to make sure it works properly.
The Speed Wrench team suggests using this car winterization checklist before temperatures start to drop here in Michigan and if you are planning on taking your car on a road trip for the holidays. This will help to avoid no-starts, engine freeze-ups, and accidents with this checklist. If you’re looking for a full service auto repair and service company, Speed Wrench would love to help you out!
Call us Today to Get Your Car Ready for the Winter!