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Steps for Winterizing Your Vehicle

Every good driver does one thing in late fall: They winterize their car or truck for the wet, freezing, snowy weather in the months ahead. By doing this, they just might avoid a dangerous accident, or better their odds of surviving a night stuck in a snowbank if their vehicle just happened to slide off the road. And, by having your vehicle ready for winter, you can avoid your car not starting on frigid winter mornings, when all you want to do outside is run from the house to your car or truck. If you’ve never
winterized your car or truck in the past, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Remote start – One of the hard parts of winters is sitting in a freezing car waiting for the engine to warm up and windows to defrost so you can drive to work. You can purchase an aftermarket fast start remote control. Push the button, and while you eat your oatmeal, your car will start and warm up to a toasty temperature. This is something you’ll need a mechanic to help with. In some cases, the remote start system will need to be programmed into your car’s computer system.
  2. Battery checkup – In really cold temps, a car battery needs to be in tip-top shape to provide the cranking amps to provide the spark to turn over the engine. The problem is that the chemical reaction required to start a car or truck is slowed down in extreme winter temperatures. Drive your car or truck to an auto parts store. They have a diagnostic device that connects to the battery and will tell you how many ranking amps the battery is able to deliver. If the battery is delivering below 500 cold cranking amps, you’re going to have trouble starting your vehicle in cold temperatures. This is time to purchase a new battery.
  3. Snow tires – There is a misconception that once the temperatures drop into winter digits that you need to put on the snow tires. The accurate name for snow tires is winter tires. Winter tires are manufactured from a special rubber compound with tread designs that offers more road grip. These tires will give you an edge in icy weather on slick roads. However, today’s regular tires offer better gripping and wet-driving performance than they once did, although not to the level of winter tires. The answer to this question could come down to how well the roads are maintained after a snow storm in the area you live, and if it is worth the extra expense to purchase winter tires. Then, every winter and spring, you need to go to the tire shop and have the tires swapped out and stored. Whenever you purchase tires, it’s a good idea to invest in the tire and wheel warranty. With all that can go wrong on the road in the winter, this will offer tire and wheel protection if something unfortunate ever happens to the tires.
  4. Visibility – It’s important to see all the road while you drive. With all the salt and other chemicals applied to roads during the winter, it can make a mess on windshields. But luckily, you can just squirt out windshield wiper fluid and clear away the mess. Be sure to purchase anti-freezing windshield wiper fluid. You should also take the time to double check your washer fluid levels, as well as the condition of your wiper blades, before winter hits.
  5. Anti-freeze – An engine runs at high temperatures. Water from the radiator is directed through parts of the engine to cool things off. But if the antifreeze in the radiator is old, it won’t prevent the water from freezing. If you have an older car or truck, you should have the radiator flushed every few years and new anti-freeze added.

To learn more about winterizing your vehicle and understanding how the best tires perform in wet, wintry weather, call Wheel and Tire Care at 347-308-6161.

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