The winter brings many wonderful things. The holidays, spending time with friends and family, New Year’s celebrations and more. However, what also comes with the winter months is adverse weather conditions. If you’ve lived in Nebraska long enough, you know that a November day that reaches 60 degrees does not mean that the next day will not be filled with snow and frigid temperatures. While this poses many difficulties, probably one of the worst is transportation. We’ve all experienced those days when you need to get to work and it’s below freezing, the roads are icy and you’re not sure if you’ll make it to work at all, let alone on time.
While you can’t prepare for everything the weather might throw at you this winter, you can at least make sure that your vehicle is in the best possible condition to handle the ice, snow and freezing temperatures that are sure to come. Here are a few things you can do now to make sure you are prepared!
“With the colder weather, it’s important to make sure you have a complete winter check done that is included with our 5000 mile service,” states Jason Stellingwerf, Service Manager for Performance Auto. “Included in this is changing the oil and ensuring it’s not too thick and is the right viscosity for winter time. We also make sure the coolant levels are full and able to protect the engine down to 35 degrees below zero.”
He adds that making sure you have good wiper blades is also important, and something that many people forget about until they need to use them and realize they aren’t in the best shape. “When driving, you should also pay attention to any red flags with your vehicle,” he states. “Any warning lights that come on should be addressed immediately as some may indicate a problem with your brakes or be a warning of another issue that could leave you stranded in sub-zero temperatures.”
If you don’t have time to take your car in for a service check, Performance Auto now offers a mobile unit that can come to your home or business and perform the complete winter check for you. Now there’s no excuse not to get your vehicle in shape for winter!
“The only thing that touches the ground when you’re driving is the tires,” points out Jeanne Vuko with Walker Tire. “The rest of your vehicle doesn’t really matter if your tires aren’t adhering to the road the way they should.”
“Tires can’t talk,” Jeanne continues, “which is why it’s important to find a reputable dealer who will help you find the right tires for your vehicle. Consumer Reports says there are many different types of tires that are “good” for winter driving, but there is a tremendous difference between those tires and you have to realize that only 15% of people in the United States are living in an area like Nebraska where you can go from 70 degrees above to 20 degrees below in a 48 hour time span. You need to make sure you are getting tires that can handle those kinds of extremes.”
“It’s not just the tread that matters when it comes to choosing a tire,” Jeanne says. “Everything from the amount of natural rubber compared to synthetic rubber or the type of carbon black used to make the tire can affect our mileage and how well the tires adheres to the road. In order to cut costs, some tire manufacturers have cut corners in the ingredients they put in tires. It’s more important than ever to work with a knowledgeable and reputable dealer who can guide you through the many types of tires available and find the best one for your family’s safety.”
No matter how careful you are, collisions happen, especially in adverse weather conditions. When they do occur, it’s important to note that you can take your vehicle to any body shop you’d like (even if your insurance company suggests a different one). By developing a good relationship with a body shop that you take all of your vehicles to when they need work done, you can make sure your collision is repaired promptly and by people you trust.
Once safety issues have been taken care of, you can start concentrating on making your winter driving more comfortable. One of the worst parts about winter is having to sit in your car in sub-zero temperatures until it warms up and scraping the windows each morning so you can see to drive. Take care of both of these issues by installing a remote car starter in your vehicle this year. You can start your car from the comfort of your own home and by the time you’re ready to leave your house, it will be warm and the defrosted and ready to go! You can also consider having some seat warmers installed so that you will always be warm and cozy as you drive this season.