5 Tips for Preparing Your Vehicle for the Winter

February 16th, 2022 by

Car maintenance and upkeep is essential to keeping your vehicle safe and reliable. But what about maintaining your vehicle’s winter readiness? As colder weather approaches, make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps to get your car ready for winter driving conditions, which can be more hazardous than normal driving conditions because of ice, snow, and other extreme weather events like blizzards and black ice (roadway icing caused by precipitation). Use these 5 tips to prepare your vehicle for the winter ahead!


1) Check Your Battery

It’s important to check and see if your battery life is up to the task of dealing with winter temps. Most vehicles today can rely on their computer systems and other sources of electricity, and especially so during winter months. If your battery needs replacing, now is a good time to do so; winter weather tends to be extra hard on batteries as they are typically needed more than other seasons. If you choose not to replace your battery now, make sure you check it regularly over the winter months; cold temperatures take their toll on batteries and can put undue stress on them even if they’re relatively new. Check your battery and replace or recharge at any sign of trouble so you aren’t stuck out in the cold with a dead battery.


2) Adjust Tire Pressure and Check Tire Tread

Under-inflated tires are dangerous. That’s why it’s important to check your vehicle’s tire pressure frequently throughout fall and winter to ensure that your tires are at their proper levels. Experts recommend checking your tire pressure once a month, or even more often depending on treacherous road conditions. To ensure that you’re never caught off guard by an under-inflated tire, invest in a tire pressure gauge, which typically cost around $10 at any local auto supply store.


Checking your tire tread life is very important, even more so during ice and snow conditions.   Often referred to as tread depth, it’s a good idea to check regularly to ensure that you’re safe in case of icy road conditions. Experts recommend checking every 10,000 miles or at least once a year when you get an oil change. The best way to check your tire tread depth is by using a penny: Stick Lincoln’s head upside down into each tire groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.  See us for discounted tires to fit any make and model of vehicle.


3) Make Sure your Heater and Defrost Work

In most vehicles, one of your heater’s main functions is to remove condensation from inside your vehicle. Having a working defroster is important when traveling in cold weather because it helps prevent windows from fogging up and ice from forming on them. A simple way to check if your defroster works? Turn on your heating system and see if any warm air comes out of your defroster vents. If it doesn’t, you might need to get it fixed before you hit winter roads.  The drastic temperature differences from inside and outside the vehicle can cause frost and condensation to form quickly, making visibility out your windshield difficult.  This makes a working defroster a critical component if winter driving safety.


4) Fill Up Washer Fluid and Replace Wiper Blades

If anything is certain with winter weather in our area, travel conditions can turn on a dime. Be sure to keep your washer fluid topped off to help clear your windshield of frost and road salt debris. Washer fluid freezes when temperatures drop, so if you haven’t gotten around to adding new washer fluid, do that now—you don’t want your windshield covered in ice when conditions take a turn for the worse. There are many good products on the market that have a de-icer built into the fluid so it won’t freeze and will help thaw out any ice issues on your windshield much quicker.  Similarly, in summer you should replace your washer fluid regularly; old fluid might leave an oily residue on windows that blocks visibility. Before using your washer fluid, scrape ice off your windshield manually with a hand scraper.  Not only is washer fluid important, but a good set of windshield wipers is also  a must.  Here at Griffith, we offer great deals on wiper blades, and we will help switch them out for you.


5) Check Engine Fluids

Checking engine fluids is an important step in your vehicle’s maintenance. Because most fluids like power steering, brake, and transmission are separate from one another, it’s important to know exactly how much fluid is in each reservoir. A quick look at your owner’s manual will tell you exactly where to find them on your vehicle, or you can stop by and see us to check them for you.  Power steering fluid should be checked every 30,000 miles; transmission fluid every 60,000 miles; and brake fluid every 50-70k miles depending on its manufacturer.  Cold weather can be hard on your engine components so proper engine fluid levels is an important maintenance procedure before each winter season.


When weather gets wintery, go with Griffith for Vehicle Maintenance

Driving in icy conditions means your car’s tires, windshield wipers and other parts need to work as hard as you do to keep you safe on snowy roads. The Griffith service department is here to help assist in your vehicle road readiness any time you need us. Stop by and see us or give us a call at 417-451-2626 to schedule a service visit today. We appreciate your business!