It’s that time of the year again. The weather is cooling down, the sky’s staying an autumnal shade of gray, and winter is right around the corner. As the colder seasons move in, so does the threat of snow, ice, and road salt. Often, preparing your car for the harshness of the cold goes overlooked, risking your car’s paint condition, body panels, value, and, most importantly, your safety.
Planning and taking the necessary steps to ready your ride for cold weather could dramatically reduce the dangers posed to you, your car, and other drivers.
1. Check your tires.
Your tires are one of the most essential safety features in your vehicle. Tires are the only contact your vehicle has with the road and should be checked regularly to ensure they don’t need replacing. Tires with excessive tread wear or that are not intended for all-season and winter driving may be unsafe to use in rain, snow, or ice. Check that your tires still have enough tread for safe operation, and are engineered to be used in all-season or winter driving conditions.
An easy way to check the tread depth is the ol’ Abe’s Head method, also known as the Penny Test. Take a penny and place it in the tread grooves upside-down with Lincoln’s head facing you; if the grooves cover the entirety Lincoln’s head, your tires still have enough life for safe operation.
2. Inspect your brakes.
If tires are the most important safety feature on your vehicle, then brakes are a close second. Because they only need to be replaced every 30,000-60,000 miles, it’s easy to forget to check your brake pads, rotors, or drums. Brakes typically give several warning signs before reaching a critical point, including shaking, vibrations, reduced braking power, and squeaking, but you should still check them regularly.
In general, there should be at least a quarter-inch of brake pad for safe operation. If you’re unsure how to measure it or how to check your rotors or drums, take it to a local mechanic for a quick inspection. The best tires in the world will be powerless if your brakes don’t have enough pad to stop your car.
3. Get those yellow headlights restored!
After a few years of use, it’s common for headlights to develop a yellow, oxidized film on the outside of the lens. Not only does it affect the aesthetics of your car, but also its ability to light the way at night or in poor weather. As the days get shorter and the weather threatens snow, it’s essential to get as much visibility as you can out of your headlights. If you notice your headlights starting to yellow, open your Spiffy app and book your headlight restoration service as soon as possible.
4. Replace old windshield wipers.
It may seem simple, but windshield wipers are a crucial component of the safety features in your vehicle. If it’s dark, and the weather turns for the worst, a new set of wiper blades can mean the difference between safe, confident driving, and being blinded by the glare of oncoming headlights. If your SUV, crossover, or hatchback has a rear wiper, replace that one too.
It’s all too often that it gets overlooked, causing fog, frost, and ice to accumulate on the rear window when it’s least convenient. Wipers are an easy, inexpensive safety feature to maintain, and imperative to keeping you safe in winter months.
5. Protect your paint and body panels.
There are few road hazards more treacherous and harsh than snow, ice, and salt. Snow and ice pose their obvious dangers when driving, but can lead to an increased chance of fading paint. When coupled with salt, your vehicle’s frame and body panels can begin to rust.
The best way to defend your vehicle against these elements is with carnauba wax, paint sealant, or ceramic coating. Providing an additional protective layer over your paint in the winter months can reduce the effects of snow and salt, and help prevent rust that could ruin the look, value, and structural integrity of your vehicle.
Snow and salt aren’t your only worries, either! Falling leaves and pine straw leave behind mold spores and tree sap that can latch on to your paint. Thankfully, Spiffy can help you there too! Be sure to book your wax, paint sealant, or Diamond Plate service before the winter months to ensure your vehicle is protected year-round.
With the dangers of winter driving, come the joys of the holiday season. Don’t spend time worrying about your car. Let Spiffy take care of it so you can get back to spreading some holiday cheer, and completing your holiday shopping list!
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