Winter driving is challenging, and winter weather is hard on your car. Preparing your vehicle ahead of time and maintaining it properly during the winter months can make it last longer and prevent costly breakdowns.
No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, you should start thinking about winter weather long before the first snowflakes start to fall. The following tips can help you prepare for the worst that winter has to offer.
Consider Snow Tires
If you get ice and snow only occasionally, you may be able to make it through the winter with your regular all-season tires, but if you are expecting frequent snowstorms, putting snow tires on your car makes a lot of sense.
All-season tires are fine for most of the year, but they often lack the grip needed for serious winter driving. There has been a trend toward wide low-profile all-season tires in recent years, and tires with that design can be particularly vulnerable in bad weather.
If you do decide to buy snow tires, having them mounted on their own wheels is a smart move. That way you can simply change wheels when winter arrives and switch back in the spring. Most good snow tires will last more than one season, so you can store them in your garage during the summer months.
Get a Pre-Winter Tune-Up
You never want to be stranded by a car problem, but a mechanical breakdown in winter can be particularly dangerous. If you find yourself stranded in the middle of a winter storm, you will have to deal with not only inconvenience but freezing temperatures and hazardous conditions as well.
The best way to avoid such problems is to have your car thoroughly checked out before winter arrives. Take your car to the mechanic and ask them to inspect the entire vehicle, from the tires to the fluids. If it has been some time since your last tune-up, changing the spark plugs and wires can help your car run better and even improve your wintertime gas mileage. Be sure to have the mechanic check your battery and charging system as well. Winter cold can send a weak battery over the edge and cause it to fail.