With cold weather comes snow, ice and difficult driving conditions. One important thing to remember is that cold weather is not only hard on people, it is hard on vehicles as well. Although cars today do not require quite as much winter time care as older models, there are still important tips to follow to be sure your vehicle is running smoothly throughout the winter months.
“Probably the most important thing to pay attention to is your tires,” says George Schifferer, Director of Parts and Service at I.G. Burton in Milford. “Make sure you have your alignments done regularly for one thing. More importantly, check the depth of the tread on your tires. If there is less than four millimeters of tread on the tire, it is important that you replace them before attempting to driving on winter roads.” Mr. Schifferer says that drivers actually rely on their tires more in the winter than they do in the summer as traction is more important. In addition, rain is just as dangerous as snow and ice.
Another tip for keeping your car running smoothly over the winter months is to have the car checked by a mechanic at least every 5,000 miles. Newer cars have longer intervals between oil changes, sometimes as much as 8,000 miles. This means that many people are only having their oil changed once per year or less if they do not drive long distances. Mr. Schifferer says that a year or more is too long to wait to have your vehicle checked.
“Think about it. We all run 70 to 80 miles per hour down the highway today,” Mr. Schifferer said. “When was the last time you checked your lug nuts? When was the last time you took a walk around your car to look at the lights and lenses to be sure they were operating properly? When we service your car, we check your vehicle free of charge to identify anything that might need correcting.”
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Mr. Schifferer said that newer cars do not need to be warmed up like older models to keep them running properly. If your car is not kept in a garage, you will want to start the car to remove all frost and ice from the windshield to be sure your visibility is clear.
“Warming the car up is more for you than it is the vehicle,” Mr. Schifferer said. “Newer cars won’t really let you hurt them. The most important thing to remember is how good your tires are. The only thing between you and the road is the rubber, so it is critical, especially in winter, to be sure your tires are in good shape.”