Even if your summer car care routine was second to none, now is not the time to let up. Frigid temperatures can ambush even the mildest autumns. Don’t wait until the thermometer drops to “teeth-chattering” cold. Taking the time for a bit of practical maintenance now can save you time and trouble down the road. Get started with three things to do and three to consider, because hey, we know you’re busy!
1. Start with a vehicle inspection. This is the best place to start, as the results will help you focus on exactly what your specific car or truck needs. No two vehicles are the same! A vehicle inspection will include important checks and tests on your battery, fluids, belts, engine hoses, lights, and more. Problems with any of these components can worsen when the temperature falls and the snow rises!
2. Check your tread depth. Your tread depth should be at least 2/32”. Otherwise, you may not have enough tread to drive safely, regardless of the season or road conditions.
To measure your tread depth, grab a penny. With Lincoln’s head facing downwards, place the penny into several grooves of a tire. If you can see the top of his head, your tread depth is worn to the point that it could be time to buy new tires. In a cold, snowy area, winter tires may be your best bet. They can improve traction on winter roads by a whopping 50 percent over all-season tires, adds the Alberta Motor Association.
Pro-Tip: While you’re examining your tires, look for other signs you may need new tires. Things like intense exposure to sunlight and heat can also impact their winter readiness.
3. Examine your windshield wipers. These guys are the unsung heroes of winter driving. They constantly battle flurries and ice to provide you with a clear view of the road ahead. Check that there are no ragged or distorted edges where the rubber blade comes in contact with the glass. If your wipers are more than six months old, consider replacing them with wiper blades that provide the best winter performance.
4. Protect your windshield wipers. Keep old (but clean) tube socks in your glove compartment. Pull them over your wipers when the forecast calls for ice or snow. They can pull double duty if worn over your shoes to provide extra grip should you have to push a car out of a slippery situation!
5. Switch out your floor mats. All-weather floor mats will help protect your car’s interior from moisture, stains, stinky smells, and corrosive material like road salt.
6. Prepare for slippery situations. If your car is rear-wheel drive, placing a 20-pound bag of road salt, sand, dirt or kitty litter in your trunk can help improve tire grip in the winter. Come spring, that same sand and dirt can be used in your yard and kitty litter can be used to absorb oil spills in the garage!
Put your best wheel forward before winter rears its cold, snowy head! Start with a free vehicle inspection at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care. A technician can help you watch out for anything that may jeopardize your safety or need to be fixed or replaced, setting you up for success in the season to come.