Don’t wait until the first snow storm – Experts say now is the time to winterize your car


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – This past week, Utah saw freezing temperatures, and those living at higher elevations experienced frost and even a little bit of snow. That’s Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Hey! It’s time to winterize your car.”

Although we haven’t had our first snow storm of the season yet, experts say it’s best to make sure your car’s ready for the winter before then.

Nic Jack, Service Manager at Murdock Hyundai in Murray, joined ABC4 News to provide some winterizing tips for drivers:

Preparing Your Tires

Make sure your tires have adequate tread depth to ensure good stopping distance. If you’ve got a gauge, you’ll want to make sure your tread doesn’t get any lower than 4/32 of an inch. That’s when your tires start to lose traction and resistance to hydroplaning.

Another popular trick is to use a penny to check the tread depth. To do so, stick a penny into your tire’s tread groove with President Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see his entire head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Check Your Battery

Sometimes you can see with the naked eye if your battery needs to be replaced when there’s corrosion on the terminals. But otherwise, you might need to ask a repair professional to do a battery test to make sure your cold cranking amps are adequate for starting in the winter.

According to AAA, vibration and heat are the two biggest factors that damage batteries, but you won’t notice that until the battery is asked to supply its maximum power on a cold morning.

Check Your Headlights

In extreme snow storms, visibility is key in getting home safely, and your car’s headlights play a big role in that. In a AAA study, lenses were found to cloud in as little as five years and restrict light transmission by up to 50 percent. Some light bulbs are easy to replace, but sometimes headlights require the lenses to be cleaned to decrease glare from street lamps,  lights from oncoming cars, or those glimpses of the sun near dawn or sunset.

Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car

If you do find yourself in a crash or if your car breaks down on the side of the road, you’ll want to make sure you have an emergency kit in the car.

Items for roadside maintenance should include jumper cables, emergency flares of reflectors, gloves, a first aid kit, and a flashlight.

In the case that you become stranded, either by yourself or with others, carry a supply of water, high calorie snacks, warm clothing, a blanket, sand or kitty litter, and a shovel in your car to be prepared for winter storms.

For more tips on how to winterize your car, visit AAA’s website for more information.

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