If you’re a grade school kid in a cold-weather state, there are two words in winter you perpetually long to hear – snow day. If you’re a working professional, it’s just the opposite. Rather than a reason 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 daily driver 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, for instance, make an appointment. Oil changes these days often entail a multi-point inspection that can tell you much about your vehicle’s readiness 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 Tire 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 BusinessLink 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 cold snaps. The colder it gets the more tire pressure drops. Maintaining the pressure recommended by the manufacturer will help avoid malfunction and achieve top fuel economy.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Because you never know if or 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, more importantly, you’ll be happy it’s there should you ever really need it.
Upgrade to Four- or All-Wheel Drive
The ultimate measure in winter preparation is to buy or lease a brand-new vehicle, one preferably with four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) for optimal traction and control. If it is time for a new vehicle, keep in mind that many FCA vehicles offer exceptional 4WD/AWD capabilities and are engineered to perform in all types of weather. Visit a dealership near you to begin exploring your options. And do it now, before the snow begins to fly!