The St. Louis area is no stranger to drastic weather changes, regardless of the season. It’s common for a summer day to be cool, and a winter day warm. Your vehicle bears the brunt of the temperature and precipitation fluctuations as you travel to your various destinations. With the unpredictable winter season rapidly approaching, it’s crucial that your car be prepared. And, if you ever find yourself in a situation this winter where your vehicle’s exterior needs repair, our experts at Auto Beauty Specialists will work tirelessly to get you back on the road.
Winterizing Your Car
Certain steps must be taken to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of other drivers, on snowy, slippery roads. Plus, servicing specific areas of your vehicle prior to the winter season can potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs later. Since the wintry weather affects your car’s performance, be sure to complete the following to confirm everything is in working order:
1. Check Your Tire Tread
As your tires wear down over time, they begin to lose their ability to properly grip the road. During the winter months, tire traction is critical. When the tires’ tread is nonexistent, your car’s capacity to stop in slippery conditions significantly declines.
To check your tires’ tread, perform the simple “penny test.” Place a penny between the grooves of the tire’s tread, with Lincoln’s head facing you. If the entire face of the penny is visible over the groove after taking a couple steps back, it’s time to invest in a new set of tires. When browsing the selection, consider purchasing snow tires, especially if you live in an area with many steep, windy roads.
2. Air Up Your Tires
When temperatures drop, so too does the air pressure in your tires. In fact, tires lose pressure at a rate of one pound per 10°F. Lower pressure can potentially be dangerous in winter weather, as it wears your tires down faster and negatively affects the vehicle’s handling. Be sure to check your tire pressure weekly during colder weather by utilizing a gauge that measures pounds per square inch (PSI). If your tire pressure is low, either take your vehicle to your local mechanic for replenishing or fill the affected areas at a gas station.
3. Ensure Your Heater is Working
You might believe that the act of inspecting your heater is the least important task prior to winter, as it does not affect how your vehicle performs. However, consider what would occur should you become stranded on a snowy road with a broken heater. It’s smart to take proactive measures when it comes to your safety, so service your heater if necessary.
4. Inspect Your Battery
Car batteries tend to die during winter due to the added strain placed on them from cold temperatures. Therefore, check your battery for any corrosion on the terminals, and take your vehicle to a professional for inspection. They will be able to recommend next steps, as well as replace it if needed.
5. Have Your Brakes Serviced
Just as your battery is under more strain during winter, so too are your brakes. Moisture and salt accumulate on wintry roads, creating spots of rust and reducing how well your brakes work. Therefore, have your brakes inspected and serviced prior to the season, and again midwinter to ensure they are performing at their highest capacity.
6. Replace Your Windshield Fluid and Wipers
It’s important to keep your windshield fluid reservoir full during the winter months. Doing so allows you to maintain a clean windshield, even on the snowiest days. Additionally, many windshield fluids freeze when temperatures are below 32°F, so consider purchasing winter-grade fluid.
Further, invest in new windshield wipers before the season begins. Once ice accumulates on your glass, the blades are quickly destroyed, so starting with a fresh set places you in the best position. Then, purchase a new pair after winter is finished.
Car Prep for Winter: Emergency Kit
In addition to servicing your vehicle as necessary before winter, assemble an emergency kit. Specific items may vary from one to the next, but every winter car emergency kit should include the following:
- First aid kit
- Essential medications
- Flashlight with batteries
- Jumper cables
- Ice scraper with snow brush
- Portable shovel
- Tow straps
- Sleeping bag
- Extra set of winter clothing
- Water bottles and long-lasting food
- Portable phone charger
- Sand for traction
Although you may not need to use them, having the items in your vehicle provides peace of mind during the unknowns of the St. Louis winter season. You’ll be prepared for whatever the road conditions bring your way.
We’re Here if You Need Us
No matter how prepared you may be, accidents still occur, especially when the roads are snowy and icy. If you are involved in a collision and your vehicle has suffered damage, our team of auto repair experts will restore your car efficiently and professionally so you can hit the road again. Whether your windshield is cracked, aluminum damaged, or body dented, you can trust Auto Beauty Specialists to return your car to its pristine condition. Centrally located in Olivette, MO, we provide above and beyond service for every customer. Be safe this winter – contact us to learn more!