Time again to winterize your car – Part 1

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It's time to think about winterizing your car. Image: MSVG/Flickr/CC BY

It’s time to face the fact that winter is just around the corner. That means its time to think about getting your car ready for the winter. Although modern cars handle extreme temperatures, for the most part, with aplomb, there are still some precautions you may want to take to prepare for the season. That is especially true if you drive an older car or if you live in a region prone to snow fall.

Winterize from the wheels up

Perhaps the most important driving consideration in the winter is keeping your vehicles solidly on the pavement when things begin to ice over. So we shall begin with the tires.

As the weather begins to cool down, take the time to inspect your tires. Is there still plenty of tread on them? Is there any cracking? You do not want to trust aging or worn tires to icy roads if you can afford to help it.

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Keep an eye on tire pressure

Tire pressure is especially important in the winter months. Slick and icy roads are the enemy of traction. Keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure (consult your owner’s manual to determine the optimal pressure for your tires) is essential in ensuring the maximum surface contact possible. It also helps minimize any damage to your wheels when driving through winter potholes and the like.

It is important to monitor tire pressure throughout the winter as well. According to Edmunds, tires commonly lose one pound per square inch of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.

Winter vs. all-season tires

Many motorists, for economic reasons, opt to keep their all-season tires on all year round. All-seasons will work, up to a point, but their effectiveness depends much on the depth of their tread. However, even new all-seasons are not as effective as winter, or snow, tires at providing the most traction on slippery road surface. If you live in a region prone to snow, it is likely worth the expense.

If you do keep a set of winter and a set of summer tires, storing the fair weather ones in large plastic trash bags will keep moisture from damaging them until they are needed again. Suck the air out of the trash bags with a vacuum cleaner before taping them closed and leave them someplace with a relatively constant temperature.

Keep in mind, however, that winter tires will still slip on icy roads. No tires are exempt from that. If you live in a town like, say, Brooklyn Connecticut, you know driving slowly and cautiously in icy conditions is this is not just a matter of courtesy. Brookyn has icy roads in the winters, and the lives you save may not just be your own.


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