Check your tires. Tires with little tread are just asking for trouble. You may get along on dry roads, but add a little snow or ice and water and your current tires may not cut it. Make sure they are the properly inflated, check inflation frequently when the tires
are cold, not after they have warmed to your driving. Remember that a sharp
drop in temperature will drop the air pressure in your tires.
causes premature wear, can degrade handling and can cause an accident.
Tires with minute cracks over large areas of the side wall are suffering from
old age and should be replaced, no matter how much tread is left. Snow tires
and/or all-weather radials that have worn to less than 1/4 inch aren't going to
be of much use in real snow.
Don't expect like-new performance from a 2- or
No matter what season, tires at all four corners should match; different tread
patterns on the same car will affect handling and braking for the worse.
Check for cuts, abrasions, uneven wear. Inspect the rim to see if you may
have lost a balance weight, a loss that could cause premature wear and
When was the last time you had your brakes checked? Even in summer, many of us drive with the windows closed, the radio on and the air conditioner humming away. All of these conditions prevent us from hearing those tell-tale sounds of brake problems.
On dry pavement, uneven braking power can usually be adjusted for. But you will have an exciting carnival ride experience with uneven braking power on ice and snow. Just plan on sliding around a lot and possibly some 360 degree turns as well.
Some areas permit chains or adequate snow tires. However, in extreme weather you may also need chains. Make sure they are the proper size for your tires and are in working order. When you buy new tires, it is a good idea to confirm that your chains still fit. Carry chain repair links and a few basic tools to make the repairs. An old towel to clean your hands with and a flashlight would also be good planning.
If you cannot see out the windshield, how you going to enjoy the beauty of the drive. You also need every advantage you can have in winter driving and seeing the road and what other drivers are doing is important.
Assure you visibility by making sure your windshield wipers work well. Replace your wiper blades. Also refill the windshield washer container with a winter-safe solution so you can clear slush and dirt without freeze-up. You may want to add special solvent to your
windshield washer reservoir to prevent icing.
Your summer wipers won't be much use in heavy
snow. Remember last year? Invest in winter blades, a k a snow blades. These
come with the fingers that hold the blade proper encased in a rubber boot that
prevents ice and snow from building up between the blade and the arm that
Such a buildup in a summer type blade will lift the rubber off the
windshield, and visibility is diminished or gone altogether. (Do change back in
the spring; winter blades do not work so well in summer rains.)
When you clean your windshield, clean the wiper blades, too. Dirt and oily
scum build up on them, and it's of no use to clean the glass and then wipe it
with oily scum on the blade. Anything that washes a windshield will serve to
clean the wiper -- in a pinch, a little soda water works great.
When you clean your windshield, clean the lenses over your head lights and tail lights, too. They
get even dirtier than the windshield. Now's the time to check for dead bulbs
and replace them.