What winter maintenance is essential for every driver on the road, no matter where you live?
I confronted this question recently after returning from a Christmas road trip. Eight hours there, a couple of quick jaunts around country roads, and then eight hours back. Somewhere during the trip, a brake light went out on my trusty Subaru (I was shocked too). I drove eight hours in the dark with a wife and 6-week old baby without a brake light! Before you judge me, the car has a secondary brake light on each side that saved me from breaking the law.
It made me wonder, besides the occasional burnt out brake light bulb, what should every car owner pay attention to during the winter? In order to best answer this question, I disturbed a couple of coworkers and got their expert answers. Here are their answers:
Cal /// Tour Operations Manager
Tire pressure. Most important winter maintenance for your vehicle. When the temperature drops, your tire pressure drops. When it gets colder, make sure you check your tire pressure. It will make sure you are safe AND it will increase your fuel economy.
Secondary, but really important if you are anywhere with snow, windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid.
John /// Sr. Lead Instructor
Most important winter maintenance? Wipers and fluid. If there’s salt on the roads you are absolutely going to need wiper fluid. Your wiper fluid allows you to clear your windshield all winter as the salt from the roads gets all over your car. Your wipers need to work or else you won’t be able to see. In the winter they can crack in the cold so you need to check them.
Also, make sure your brakes work. Don’t wait until they are completely gone to replace them. You just don’t know when you will need them to work at 100%. There was this one time [I left at this point as I gathered this was going to be a long story to get across his point].
Wilson /// Fleet Technician
What’s the question? [Most important winter maintenance] Tire tread and tire pressure. Check to see how much is left on your tires before it gets cold so that you know you will be set all winter. Tire pressure changes when the temperature changes.
Mitch /// Marketing Manager
For me it’s all about preventative measures. I know people who carry around wiper fluid in a water bottle in case their doors freeze and keep a blanket in their trunk in case of emergency during a winter storm. Another great thing to do is getting your air vents checked and ensuring your heat works 100%. I have all-season tires, but if you daily drive a sports car with summer tires, you have to swap them out for winter tires. [Winter tires are incredibly important even if you have AWD. Watch this video if you have any doubt]
If you are in a snowy area, three things. A really good snow brush to clean snow and ice off your car, a small shovel in case you get stuck, and rubber floor mats.
There you go! Check your tires, check your wipers, and be prepared for any wintry situation! If your wipers seem to be leaving more streaks or not doing as efficient of a job, it might be time to replace them. Good news, the parts are pretty cheap and if you are even a bit handy, you should be able to do it yourself by watching a video like this one. If you are reading this and you are in an area that doesn’t get snow, we’re jealous. Also, be sure to still check your tire pressure, seeing that each tire is the same pressure and at a correct level (Not sure how to check, click this link).
Do you have your own winter maintenance that you would recommend? Comment and let us know! We’ll see you in just over a month at our first event!