It’s that time of year for winter driving tips from Mountain View Automotive in Northglenn. This will ensure your car or truck is ready for the cold and snowy months ahead. Whether you’re planning a trip into the mountains or simply want to get around the Denver area safely, you can always bring your vehicle to our certified technicians, and we’ll get your vehicle ready.
So, let’s take a look at our winter driving tips and how to be as safe as possible.
Test the Battery and Charging System
Don’t risk getting stranded. Have your battery, charging system, and belts tested. In winter, the engine is sometimes harder to start because the oil isn’t as fluid as it was in the summer and the batteries can lose power when the temperature drops. You will need more power to start your engine in the winter. Ask us if your battery is the right battery for winter driving.
Carry Sand in the Back of the Car
With a rear wheel drive vehicle, you can put a bag or two of sand back by the rear axle. The extra weight will increase the traction of the rear wheels. But don’t put it too far back. If you do, it can lift up the front end and you will lose some steering and braking abilities. When the temps really drop, you can add a block heater to your engine but remember to unplug it before you drive away from your house.
Check the cooling system
Antifreeze is an important item on our winter driving tips list because it protects your car from the cold winter temperatures. Your vehicle needs a 50-50 mix of coolant to water which has a lower freezing point. If you use 100% coolant it is less able to transfer heat away from your engine and can cause melted spark plugs and engine failure.
Antifreeze also keeps your cooling system from rusting. However, rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down over time and need to be renewed. Your engine’s coolant should be changed at the interval recommended by your manufacturer. Draining the coolant and refilling the system removes dirt and rust particles that can clog up the cooling system and cause you troubles.
Keep the Gas Tank Full
Sometimes traffic gets backed up in winter. One of our most essential winter driving tips is to avoid running out of gas on a cold day or night. Get your gas tank filled. If you do get stuck or stranded, the engine will be your only source of heat. If you have gas, you can stay warm. If you are stranded, make sure you remove the snow from behind the tailpipe from time to time.
Bring a Cell Phone
Although most people already carry cell phones when they drive, make sure you have one with you on those cold, icy days so you can call for help if you need. Keep a charger in your car even if you typically don’t need to use it and bring a charged power bank on longer trips.
Keep the Windshield Washer Fluid Full
You need to keep your windshield clear, so you will need a lot of windshield washer fluid in the snowy winter. Keep it full, preferably with a product that won’t freeze in cold temperatures (a must-have if you park outside) and even one that can help remove ice and frost.
Look at the Windshield Wipers
Consider getting winter wipers that have rubber coverings that keep ice from collecting on the blade. Don’t forget to take them off in the summer. Another of our winter driving tips is to turn off the wipers before you shut off the engine. This will prevent water from freezing the wipers to the windshield overnight.
Check the Tire Pressure
Our ASE-certified technicians will check your tire pressure because tire pressure drops by about one pound per ten degrees of temperature. If your tires have low pressure it will affect your car’s handling. If you have a newer vehicle made after 2008, you also have a tire pressure monitor that will let you know when your tires have dangerous changes in tire pressure.
Keep Basic Supplies in the Car
Drive prepared. Start with a snow brush and an ice scraper for the car. You might also consider keeping a shovel and a bag of sand in the car to help with traction. A jug of windshield wiper fluid is also a good idea. You also might want to keep a blanket, boots, and maybe a warm pair of clothing in the trunk as well. Water and snacks are good to have all year long.
Get Snow Tires
If you live in a place where it snows, you should consider getting four quality snow tires. If you can, get four steel rims and mount the snow tires permanently on those rims. That will help make changing them easier. Snow tires will help you get started and increase your traction when you’re braking and turning. This can be especially important in slippery, icy conditions.
Some mountain roads require tire chains. Keep them in your trunk in case you need them. Make sure you know how to put the chains on the tires. It’s much harder to figure it out in cold, snowy weather on the side of a road.
Make Sure the Car is Cleaned Off
Before you drive, make sure all snow on your car is cleaned off and the visibility is good. That means the whole car, not just a small patch or only the driver’s side windshield. That includes your side mirrors and the headlights and taillights. Don’t leave snow on the top of your car. When you take off or stop, the snow will slide off the roof and cover your windshield. It can also land on cars behind you which puts their safety at risk.
The cold and snowy weather is here with plenty more coming. Follow these winter driving tips and bring your vehicle into Mountain View Automotive in Northglenn. Our trained and certified mechanics will make sure your car, truck or SUV is ready for those tough winter driving conditions.