As the temperatures start to drop and the days get shorter, it’s time to start thinking about how to winterize your car. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road in a blizzard, whether you’re just commuting to work or taking a winter road trip. Take some steps now to make sure your car is ready for winter travel. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your vehicle for the cold weather ahead.
Check Your Tires
Make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. If you live in an area where it snows, you may even want to invest in a set of winter tires. In Utah, you can have studded tires or chains only during certain times of the year, typically between October 1 and April 30; check with UDOT for maps and instructions.
Best Tires for Winter Driving
Did you know that “all season” tires can perform well during the winter? So, if you already have this type of tire on your vehicle, you may not need to change them out for snowy and icy conditions. However, if your treads are low or your tires aren’t all season, you might want to check out the following for more grip on winter roads:
- Michelin X-Ice North 4
- Michelin X-Ice Snow
- Bridgestone WS90
- Bridgestone Blizzak DM V-2
- Toyo Observe GSi-6
- Continental VikingContact 7
- Yokohama iceGuard GO75
These are brands we work with at Master Muffler, and we’re happy to install, rotate, and align your tires in preparation for winter travel.
Change Your Oil
Cold weather can be hard on your engine, so it’s important to keep your oil fresh. Most mechanics recommend changing your oil every 5,000 miles or so, but you may want to do it more often in the winter months. You can also switch to an oil with a viscosity better suited to cold weather. Look for motor oil with “W” on the label, such as:
The “W” stands for winter and means the oil is formulated to stay smooth even in the coldest of temps so it can lubricate your engine. You can absolutely perform an oil change yourself, or you can bring your car to Master Muffler during your lunch break and we’ll take care of it for you.
Refill Windshield Washer Fluid
Is there anything worse than spraying your windshield in the winter, only to have the cleaning solution freeze on the glass? If you’re using the wrong wiper fluid, you’ll find yourself scraping the windshield more often. To avoid having to leave the warmth of your car more often than is necessary, switch your wiper fluid to one with de-icing additives. Or, use an all-weather solution that can withstand cold temperatures without freezing.
Check Your Battery
A dead battery is one of the most common reasons for a car to break down in the winter. Cold weather can make it harder for your battery to hold a charge, so make sure it’s in good condition before the snow starts flying. Clean the terminals and look for any deterioration visible on the battery or the connections.
If your battery checks out but your vehicle is still having trouble starting, it may be a problem with your alternator. Make a service appointment with Master Muffler to get it inspected.
Pack an Emergency Kit
No one likes to think about getting stranded in a blizzard, but it’s always better to be prepared. Pack a blanket, some snacks, and a first-aid kit in your trunk just in case you find yourself stuck on the side of the road this winter. Other essentials for winter travel include:
- Collapsible shovel
- Sand or kitty litter (for traction)
- Portable phone charger
- Flashlight (and extra batteries!)
By taking a few simple steps now, you can help ensure that your car is ready to take on whatever winter throws its way. From changing your oil to packing an emergency kit, a little bit of preparation now can go a long way toward peace of mind later. So don’t wait—contact Master Muffler today for a tune-up to ensure that your vehicle will be ready when the flurries fly.