Brrr… It’s cold outside. While you are nice and toasty inside, your vehicle will struggle in the colder weather.
Having a vehicle that is properly winterized is critical to its operation and your safety. Driving on snow and ice is difficult when you don’t have enough traction on your tires, causes longer stopping distances, causing fender benders as you find yourself uncontrollably sliding into another car. When poor road conditions exist, preparing your vehicle ahead for the weather will make your driving experience as safe and as stress-free as possible. Here’s a few key items to prepare your vehicle for winter.
#1. A good set of tires with ample tread depth provides the best possible grip along with better stopping ability. Bald tires have no stopping ability. Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Stop by O’Brien’s. We will be glad to discuss the current condition of your tires and make recommendations if you need new tires.
#2. Brakes should just be part of routine maintenance. Stopping distances are much longer when road surfaces are slick, and poor brakes can make the situation worse. All-wheel drive vehicles may handle best in the snow - but no matter the drive train of your vehicle - you are reliant on your brakes (and tires) to slow down and stop effectively.
With O’Brien’s full-service oil changes, we check your brakes with every oil change, along with belts, hoses, battery, tires, wipers, and fluids… every time.
#3. New wipers and winter wiper fluid are critically important when driving during the winter. Do your wiper blades adhere uniformly to the windshield? If not, they should be replaced. The buildup of snow and slush will exasperate issues of poor visibility when the wiper blade is not making consistent contact across your windshield.
Use the correct washer fluid and keep reservoir full. You’ll use more in the winter. Do not use water or regular washer fluid as it will crack your lines and reservoir. Washer fluid must be rated for below freezing temperatures (preferably -20O F or lower due to possible frigid temperatures). A good ice scraper and snow brush is also a requisite to have in your vehicle, even if it is just to scrape the windshield on a clear, frosty morning.
#4. Car batteries should be checked with every oil change. Electrical current provided by the battery is reduced at colder temperatures, so a failing battery may not make itself known until the winter months. Few things are more frustrating than a vehicle that won't start in the cold. We can replace a failing battery before you find yourself stranded.
5. A winter Survival Kit is also a good idea, in the event you become stranded. You might consider: Space Blankets for each passenger, small hand warmer packets, a small or collapsible shovel, a sturdy ice scraper/snow brush, some kitty litter in the trunk, a flashlight, flares or reflectors, extra Winter windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, and several energy bars. An empty soup can, a plumber's candle and lighter if you need to make water to drink. A cell phone battery backup. And always keep your gas tank at least half full and have your cell phone fully charged if driving any distance to/from home or work.
If stranded, ensure the exhaust pipe stays clear of snow and crack your window slightly for fresh air. Run your vehicle for short periods of time only as needed to provide heat and conserve fuel. A car adaptor for your cell phone is also a good idea, so that you can ensure adequate charging for the device in case you are stuck and need to call for help.
The National Weather Service provides local forecasts out through 7 days, including winter hazards. You can learn more about NWS winter weather forecast products and preparedness at St. Louis Weather Forecast
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Properly winterizing your vehicle with our Premium Winterization Maintenance Package will provide an extra measure of safety and peace of mind in the event you are traveling in less than ideal winter conditions to work, home, or your favorite winter activity.
^Click the image above to schedule your Premium Winterization Maintenance Package!^