Winter makes driving difficult, especially at higher altitudes. Cold, rain, sleet and snow all conspire to limit visibility and make roads treacherous. That’s why it pays to get your vehicle professionally winterized.
Winterizing won’t keep you out of trouble completely, but it reduces the risk of being stranded or having an accident. Winterization includes:
- Battery check and replacement if necessary. Low temperatures and extreme heat are battery killers. You want to know your engine will start when you need it.
- Windshield wiper inspection and replacement. Worn wipers smear and stutter, reducing visibility and creating a distraction.
- Adjust washer fluid concentration and top off. Removing salt and grime from the windshield is essential for safety!
- Coolant check and top off. Having the right concentration ensures the coolant won’t freeze, even on the coldest night.
- Adjust tire pressures. Pressures drop with air temperature, so tires need extra inflation as winter comes on.
- Check tires for tread. Good tread depth is important for clearing water and snow. The old “penny test” isn’t really good enough – you should have more tread than that.
- Lubricate door locks. Few people actually use the locks in modern vehicles, but you want to know they’ll work if you need them. A squirt of lube keeps water out and stops them freezing.
In addition, you may want to have both your heater and your rear defroster checked to be sure they’re working properly.
It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. If you do get stuck you could face a long wait before help arrives, so be prepared!
Last, a word about snow tires. You’ll need them if CDOT implements the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (also known as a Code 16). Learn more at the CODOT Traction Law web page.