How to Winterize Your Car for Safe Driving in Cold Weather

Winter weather can be hazardous and lead to accidents, so it’s essential that your vehicle is equipped for the road conditions. Aside from using proper driving techniques, there are other steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared.

One of the most essential ways to winterize your car is by switching to winter tires. These have a softer rubber compound and special tread patterns that grip road surface better in conditions such as ice, snow, or slush.

Check the Tires

Tires are an integral component of your vehicle’s safety system, so it’s essential that they are correctly inflated. Doing so will improve braking, handling and gas mileage.

At a minimum, check your tires once a month. This becomes especially critical during cold weather as low temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop by one pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in temperature.

When checking your tire pressure, use a reliable tire gauge. These can be purchased at any auto parts store and should always be kept in your car or truck for quick checks.

Additionally, make sure your tires have sufficient tread depth. Doing so will guarantee adequate traction on snow and ice surfaces.

Check the Battery

Winterizing your vehicle’s battery is one of the most essential tasks you should perform. Cold temperatures can severely reduce its capacity.

Car batteries work through a series of chemical reactions that are affected by freezing temperature. As a result, their capacity drops between 30% and 60%.

Our mechanics in Glenwood Springs can make sure your car is prepared for winter weather.

First and foremost, check your battery for signs of corrosion. Corrosion can prevent the charging system from properly recharging your battery, making it difficult to start your car in cold weather.

Check the Wipers

Winter driving poses a number of safety issues, one of the foremost being visibility of your vehicle. Snow and slush can quickly accumulate on the windshield, impairing your ability to see the road ahead clearly.

Wiper blades are essential for clearing your windshield and keeping you safe on the road. Regular inspections will help identify any problems before they get worse, increasing visibility for you and others around you.

Even the best wipers can break down over time due to exposure to harsh weather, dirt and salt. Therefore, it’s recommended to replace them every six months or so.

Winter wipers with rubberized blades are also available that prevent ice from building up on the blades. These effective models cost a few dollars more than regular wipers but still provide excellent performance.

Check the Windshield Fluid

One of the most overlooked components of car maintenance is windshield washer fluid. However, this specialized cleaner helps remove dirt and grime from your windows, keeping you safer while driving.

Wiper fluids typically consist of ethanol and methanol to clean glass surfaces, along with a small amount of ethylene glycol for cold temperatures protection. In California, these ingredients are regulated to protect the environment by reducing pollution caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

To test your windshield washer fluid, open your hood and locate your front/rear washer reservoir. These are usually white, translucent containers marked with either “windshield/water.”

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