If you live in the Northwest, it seems like winter has come early, with snowfall hitting us well before normal. So, there’s no time like the present to learn some of the important steps you can take to make sure your vehicle is in the best shape it can be for the nasty weather ahead.
Check the Battery
One of the things most of us take for granted is that our vehicle’s battery will always be there for us, ready when we are. Be sure that your battery is corrosion-free and that the connection is clean and secure. If it’s several years old, you may consider having it tested to make sure it’s fully functional and doesn’t need to be replaced.
Make sure your car’s battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. The battery should be securely mounted. If the battery is three years old or more, have it tested and replace it if necessary.
Windshield Wiper Blades
Our windshield wipers take a beating here in the perpetually wet Northwest. If yours are starting to fail you, don’t put off changing them in a timely manner. The last thing you need is to be out on an icy road with poor visibility.
Inspect Your Tires
How old are your tires? As we all know, the tread on our tires wear down over time. Not having enough makes traversing the wet or icy roads a dangerous proposition.
If you are unsure how to tell when your vehicle’s tires need to be replaced, there’s a simple test anyone with a penny can do. Place the penny head first into various areas of the tread on your tires. If Lincoln’s entire head is still visible, it’s time for new tires. If the tread line goes beyond Lincoln’s head, you have the minimum recommendation of 2/32 of tread.
Assuming that your car tires are in good working condition you also need to be sure they also have adequate air pressure.
Tread isn’t the only thing you need to inspect on your tires. They must also be properly inflated to ensure the highest performance on the roads. You need all the help you can get on the wet and sometimes icy winter conditions.
If you haven’t already checked your tire pressure in the last month or so, it’s vital you do so as soon as possible. As the temperatures drop. so do your tires’ pressure. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tires will lose about a pound per square inch (psi) of air pressure. Unless you’ve done something about it already, you’re likely driving on poorly inflated tires.
If you aren’t mechanically inclined, take your vehicle into the shop for a tune up and general inspection to make sure everything is in good working order. Have your brakes, belts and anti-freeze checked. It could turn into a lifesaver.