For kids in cold-weather regions across the U.S., no two words sound as sweet as “snow day.” For hardworking professionals, it can be just the opposite. Rather than provide an excuse to extend deadlines, reschedule meetings or cancel calls with clients, an overnight snowstorm often means just a slower, more cautious drive to work.
While you can’t always avoid commuting in less than ideal conditions, you can prepare for inclement weather well before it hits. We recommend taking the following steps to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter months ahead.
Routine maintenance and repair work
The transition from one season to the next, especially fall to winter, is a great time to make sure your vehicle is up to date on all maintenance and repair work. If you’re overdue for an oil change, make an appointment soon. Just about all oil changes these days come with a multi-point inspection that can do much to let you know how prepared your vehicle is for winter.
Are your headlights and taillights functioning properly? Do your windshield wipers need replacing? Are all fluids topped up to recommended levels? Seemingly minor details like low windshield-wiper fluid or a faulty turn signal can become real issues when slick roads and poor visibility make driving more difficult. A qualified service technician will be able to identify potential problems and recommend the best solution.
Check your tires for pressure and tread
Don’t wait until the season’s first big snowstorm to realize you need new tires. Replace or rotate your tires now if they show excessive or uneven signs of wearing.
How much tread is too little? Many experts recommend going by the penny test. We recommend taking your car to the trusted professionals at your local FCA US LLC dealership. There they can precisely determine how much tread is left and help you decide if tire rotation, complete replacement or no action at all is your best way forward.
Also be sure to check your tire pressure on a regular basis, especially during severe cold snaps. The colder it gets the more tire pressure will drop. Maintaining the pressure recommended by the manufacturer will help you avoid malfunction and achieve top fuel economy.
Prepare an emergency kit
Because you never know if/when an emergency will happen, it’s always best to stay prepared. Pack an emergency kit with jumper cables, flashlight, road flares, first-aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, a cell-phone charger, extra hats and gloves, a pocket knife or multi-tool and even a collapsible snow shovel. Storing the kit in your vehicle at all times might seem like overkill, but it takes little effort and, most important, you’ll be happy it’s there should you ever really need it.
Upgrade to a vehicle with all- or four-wheel drive
The ultimate measure in winter preparation is to buy or lease a brand-new vehicle, one preferably with all- or four-wheel drive (AWD, 4WD) for optimal traction and control. If it is time for a new car or truck, keep in mind that many Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and FIAT® Brand vehicles offer exceptional, even best-in-class AWD and 4WD capabilities and are engineered to perform in all types of weather. Visit a dealership near you to begin exploring your AWD/4WD options. And do it now, before the snow begins to fly!