Is your car Colorado winter ready?
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of SimplyEuro Automotive Repair
Winter driving in Colorado means being ready for anything. October is a good month to do an overall winter-ready car check so you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature serves up.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), dead batteries and accidents resulting from worn tread and under-inflated tires represent the majority of winter roadside assistance calls. Checking the battery and charging system will ensure a fully-charged battery in good condition that will start an engine in cold weather.
Checking the tire tread and tire pressure is critical to having the best winter traction possible for climbing and descending mountain passes, or even getting over Surrey Ridge on I-25. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressure – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb. Many auto care facilities offer a winter inspection.
AAA recommends the following as part of a winter car care checklist, some of which needs to be done by a certified technician:
- Lights: Check your car’s headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Wiper Blades: For best visibility, the blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots
- Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
- Fluids: Check transmission, brake and power steering fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
Air Filter: Make sure the air filter is keeping dust, dirt and other environmental contaminants from getting into the engine.
- Coolant Levels: If the level is low when it is cold, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
- Brakes: Service the brakes to ensure they are in good condition.
Additionally, it is a good idea to include an emergency kit equipped for winter weather in case you get stranded in inclement weather. Items may include: mobile phone preprogrammed with rescue apps and important phone numbers – including family and emergency services, car charger, drinking water and nonperishable snacks for both human and pet passengers, first-aid kit, bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats, snow shovel and ice scraper with brush, blankets and extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves), flashlight with extra batteries, windshield washer solvent, cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, warning devices (flares or triangles), and a basic toolkit with screwdrivers, pliers and an adjustable wrench.