Fall is the perfect time to get your vehicle winter-ready. As we all know, the weather in SLC can change rapidly. One minute, the sun is shining, and we are comfortable in shorts, then 2 minutes later, it’s snowing. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy for us to change clothes, but it takes more time to get our car winter-ready. Below is a winter auto maintenance checklist and a few winter driving tips to help you drive safely as the temperature drops.
Winter-Ready Auto Maintenance Checklist
Car owners should perform auto maintenance on a regular schedule. Your owner’s manual can provide basic time frames and mileage suggestions for everything from oil changes to brake pad replacements. Before winter arrives, have the following items inspected, either by yourself or by a qualified service technician.
Tires are your first line of defense when driving in the snow. If you use winter tires, now is the time to swap them out. You don’t want to get caught driving in bad weather with your snow tires stored safely in your garage.
It is a good practice to inspect your tires at least once a month. Be sure to check:
- Tire Tread Depth: Replace your tires if the tread is less than 2/32”.
- Uneven Tread Wear: Tire rotation may be needed.
- Bulges, Bald Spots, Cracks in the Sidewalls: Damaged tires require replacement.
- Air Pressure: As the outside temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. Use a quality digital gauge and keep your tires filled to the pressure noted in the door jam sticker or the pressure recommended in your owner’s manual.
- Spare Tire: Remember to check your spare tire too.
Tire Chains or Tire Cables
Consider investing in quality tire chains or tire cables if you do not use snow tires during the winter and drive in snowy conditions. They can be purchased for most vehicle models and come in handy storage cases that can be tucked into your trunk until needed.
Freezing temperatures can be brutal on your car, so make sure to check and top off any low fluids. Scheduling a Fluid Check Service can cover all the bases in your vehicle. The technician can also determine if you need an oil change or fresh antifreeze to ensure your engine won’t freeze.
Batteries often fail during the winter months because they work hard all summer long. A service center can test your battery to see how well it holds a charge and estimate how much battery life is left. On average, a standard 12-volt car battery lasts about six years. If your battery is older than that, it’s a good idea to have it replaced.
Driving in a cold car is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. When the heating system does not operate properly, a fogged-up or frosted-over windshield is a real hazard. Also, human response time is negatively affected by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Schedule a Heating & Air Conditioning System service to stay safe and warm while driving this winter.
The hot summer sun degrades the rubber blades on your windshield wipers. The chances are good that they need replacing. As a general rule, expect to replace windshield wipers twice a year – even if you purchase the expensive ones. Make sure also to replace the rear wiper (if your vehicle has one).
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Replacing the windshield wiper fluid with a winter formula can help prevent it from freezing in extremely low temperatures. It can also help de-ice your windshield. Be sure to drain the old fluid before adding a specialized winter formula.
Winter Tips to Drive Safely
Driving in the snow, sleet, and ice can be more challenging than driving in warmer weather. Here are a few basic but important tips to help you drive safely in winter.
When winter driving conditions include snow, hail, or sleet, please slow down. It takes longer to brake, due to less traction, when the roads are wet and slippery. Poor visibility can also be a safety factor. Leave a little early to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. If you do not have the pressure of being late, it’s easier to slow down.
Turn Off Cruise Control
Do not use the cruise control feature when driving in the sleet or snow. It’s better to stay alert and give yourself plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Remove Snow & Ice From Vehicle
Take a few extra minutes to remove as much accumulated snow and ice from your vehicle as possible. Leaving large amounts of snow or ice on the hood or roof of your automobile can be a hazard to yourself and vehicles driving behind you.
Allow plenty of room around snow plows as they often drive unexpectedly with sudden stops and turns. When traveling behind a snowplow, do not tailgate. If passing a snowplow, do so carefully and only when it is safe.
Winter Safety Emergency Kit
Carrying an emergency kit in your vehicle should be a year-round practice. For winter, make sure to include:
- Cap, gloves, scarf, blanket or sleeping bag
- Chemical hand warmers and/or toe warmers
- Basic First Aid kit
- Reflective flag, cone, triangle, vest, etc.
- Flares, LED emergency light, flashlight +extra batteries
- Energy bars, bottled water
- Multi-tool, small tool kit, jumper cables
Winter Auto Service in Salt Lake City, UT
Welcome to Werner’s European Auto in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have been the premier Independent Service Center for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mini Cooper, Sprinter Vans, and Smart Car since 1988. Our experienced technicians use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose accurately, repair and replace any components or issues your vehicle may have. Come into Werner’s European Auto to get your vehicle up-to-date on routine maintenance and make sure it is winter-ready.
Schedule Your Service
Call us at (801) 467-8220 or visit our website to schedule your winter auto service today.