Winter Car Maintenance Tips
If you have experienced winter driving around Boulder and Denver, we don’t have to tell you that it’s the most dangerous time of the year to drive. While you cannot prepare for every possible winter driving hazard, the best thing you can do to outfit yourself against the harsh temperatures, and snowy and icy roads, is to keep up with your regular vehicle maintenance and auto service.
Here at Fisher Service, we work hard to keep your car in top shape, and that includes keeping you informed on what you can do to help prepare your vehicle for winter. Read on for our winter car maintenance tips!
Cross Off Your Car Maintenance Checklist NOW
If your car breaks down in the summer, it’s usually not a big deal. Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but that’s about all. If your car breaks down in the winter, it could put you into a life-or-death situation, and that is no exaggeration. Even if you’ve got roadside assistance available to you, the harsh Boulder winters could leave you with frostbite or worse.
We want you to bring your vehicle to Fisher Service so that we can check off your winter car maintenance checklist before winter gets into full swing. We will inspect all of these maintenance needs and more:
Check your anti-freeze
- Check Antifreeze: Your car should have a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, and your reservoir should be filled to the line. We’ll make sure you have the right mixture of antifreeze and that it’s topped off before sending you on your way.
- Replace Wipers: Cracked or brittle wipers will do you little to no good in the winter, and if you haven’t changed them since last winter, you’re due. We’ll make sure your wipers are ready for winter, replacing them if necessary.
- Check Windshield Washer Fluid: It may seem like a small thing, but the last thing you want is a salt-stained windshield and an empty washer fluid reservoir, especially if you find yourself behind a big rig or a large SUV that’s kicking up slush.
- Inspect Tires: Balding tires or those with uneven wear can be one of the biggest dangers in the winter months. Many organizations suggest at least 2/32nd of an inch in tread depth, but we don’t want to send you out with anything less than 4/32nd. We’ll let you know if you’re in need of new tires and install them for you.
- Clean Battery Posts: Winter is hard enough on your battery, the last thing you need are starting troubles from poor connections. We’ll scrape your terminals clean and make sure your battery is in top working order.
- Inspect Spark Plugs and Wires: Cracked spark plug wires can lead to starting troubles and decreased engine reliability as well as reduced performance, and nothing wreaks havoc on wires more than cold temperatures. We’ll replace your spark plugs and wires if they’re in need of it.
- Inspect Brakes and Brake Pads: Your brakes are perhaps the most important feature in the winter months, and worn brake pads or failing brakes are the last thing you want when winter sets in. We’ll check every aspect of your braking systems and replace/repair anything that isn’t up to snuff.
- Check Engine Oil: Whether you’re “due” for an oil change or not, it’s smart to make sure your engine oil is fresh and at the right level before that first cold snap. As a service center, we’ll be happy to change your oil for you.
We’ll check each of these boxes on your car maintenance checklist when you bring your car to Fisher Service.
GO SLOW, and Other Winter Driving Tips
We can’t stress enough that the best way to stay safe on snowy and icy roads is to drive slowly. It’s always better to be running late than to lose control of your vehicle. But can you do anything other than drive slowly and carefully?
While we’ve already gone over what we’ll do to ensure your car is in tiptop shape, here are some things you can do to make winter driving safer:
- Get Snow Tires: If you’re going to spend time driving in the snow, we recommend you invest in a set of snow tires. They’ll last you quite a while and can give you the extra grip you need in the winter weather. We recommend buying a new set of rims so you won’t need to mount and balance them every year. And two new snow tires is better than none at all, if your budget’s tight.
- Fill Up Your Tank: Running out of gas is one of the worst things that can happen in winter driving, and if your tank hovers around “E” too often, you could end up with condensation or even freezing in your fuel line. Keep a full tank for a happy and safe car in the winter.
- Keep a Bag of Sand in the Trunk: The added weight is particularly useful for rear-wheel drive vehicles, but all cars can benefit from increased weight on the rear axle. Try a 20-pound bag at first and drive around to make sure your car handles—you don’t want to lift up your front end and lose stopping power.
- Know Your Vehicle’s Limits: Do you have rear-wheel-drive? What about all-wheel-drive? Your car will handle completely different in the snow depending on the drivetrain — whether it has anti-lock brakes, or if it has stability or traction control — and if you don’t know what its limits are, you could find yourself in dire straits pretty quickly.
- Stock Up on Supplies: Stocking bottled water in your car may not be feasible during winter, but granola bars or trail mix will keep for a while and give you some energy. Keep a blanket and extra winter clothing gear—and a shovel, if you have room for it.
- Carry a Cell Phone Charger: You shouldn’t ever use your phone while driving, but you should keep your phone and a spare charger with you in the winter in case you need to call for help.
Visit Fisher Service For Winter Car Maintenance
Winter car maintenance is one of the most important things we do here at Fisher Service — let us check off your car maintenance checklist before winter gets into full swing. When you need winter or routine maintenance near Boulder, we hope our auto service center is your first stop.