It snowed today where I live. Not a lot, and by evening there was no snow on the ground, but it was enough to get me thinking about whether or not my cars are ready for winter (which apparently has arrived, right Colorado?).
We bought a car this summer that has beautiful 18″ chrome rims, and the first thing I thought when I saw the snowflakes this morning was how quickly I could get those babies stored as far away from road salts as possible. I have a firm “no pitting” rule at my house!
I’ll definitely be making some preparations as winter descends. I advise you to do the same:
Whip out your snow wheels now and wrap ’em with the best snow tires you can afford. Naturally, there are many choices in snow tires: studded (if your state law allows), studless, and my favorite, Norwegian. I tend to prefer a brand like Nokian, since those Norwegians tend to know a thing or two about winter driving.
Speaking of tires, keep an eye on your tire pressure, too. It tends to drop as temperatures dip below freezing.
It’s also a good time to invest in some heavy duty all-weather rubber floor mats (unless you own a Toyota). Heck, even if you do have a Toyota, keeping your carpets clean and dry might be worth the risk of uncontrollable acceleration. Probably not, but your call, of course.
Then there’s the rest of the typical winter stuff:
- Get your battery checked. This will help you avoid having to asking a stranger for jumper cables in a dark and scary mall parking garage.
- Add wiper fluid.
- Get your antifreeze checked.
- Make sure yours isn’t one of those cars driving around with one headlight out.
I know, I sound like your dad, but I care about you, so I’m going to keep going.
It’s also important to pick up some winter wiper blades. A full tank of fluid isn’t going to help if your wipers just smear it all into the mud already caked on your windshield. Once that happens you’ll be driving with your head out the window, and let me tell you, snow coming at your face at 40 mph really stings the eyes.
You should also take the time to wax your car one last time before spring. Putting down a protective layer will help spare your paint from the horrors of road-sanding trucks.
As winter sets in and temperatures plummet, even starting your car’s engine can be a challenge. Park in a garage if you can, or try an engine block heater if you live somewhere really cold. And don’t forget to switch to a lighter weight oil (consult your owner’s manual) or even a synthetic, since it tends to stay liquid in colder temps.
Finally, I’m going to mention something I would think everyone knows, but apparently they don’t. All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive will help you get going in snow and ice. It will not help you stop.
Tell that to the moron in the Jeep who gets stuck in a ditch on the highway. I promise you’ll see him this winter.
Do you have any special winter preparation or driving tips to share?