As fall exits stage left for the year (thank you for the beautiful colors!), winter is about to make its annual debut on the Utah weather map. While freshly fallen snow is beautiful, wintry roads can be downright ugly to drive on. Winter driving also takes a toll on your car. Prepare for inclement conditions and keep your car in top shape with these tips. 

Take Care of Your Tires

When it comes to driving in cold, wet conditions there is nothing as essential to your safety as the proper tread, inflation and wear of your tires. Without good tires, even the most advanced all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles found on KSL Cars are useless. Tires are critical to handling, stopping and acceleration. It’s worth every dollar to ensure your tires are up to the challenge of navigating snowy, icy roads

Monitoring air pressure is one of the simplest things you can do to maintain your tires. Cold weather decreases air pressure, which can lead to reduced control of your car. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s inflation specifications, usually found printed on the driver’s side door jam or in your owner’s manual.

Tire rotations are also essential for safety. If it’s been more than about 5,000 miles since your last tire rotation, experts recommend having it done. This spreads the wear, keeps tread depth even and increases each tire’s longevity. 

If you haven’t considered winter tires for your vehicle, you should. Tires purpose-built for the winter season contain different rubber compounds than all-season or summer tires. The compounds improve control, stopping power and acceleration in cold, wet or slippery conditions. Given that Utah sees several months of this type of weather, a set of winter tires will be some of the best money you spend on your vehicle, no matter the drive type.

Keep Emergency Items Handy

Utah weather can change from bad to terrible in the blink of an eye, and you need to be ready for the worst in the event you get stuck somewhere. Consider keeping some emergency items in your car. 

  • Flashlight
  • Gloves
  • Warm clothing
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Snacks
  • Blankets 

While it is unlikely you’ll get stranded for too long along Utah’s well-plowed roads, it’s best to be ready should the unexpected slide-off occur. 

Get Your Brakes Inspected 

Reliable stopping power in winter is essential. Causing more wear on a vehicle than other seasons, winter can wreak havoc on brakes, especially when already worn. A brake system inspection typically includes the pedal, fluid, lines/hoses and assemblies. Many brake issues can be prevented simply by topping off the brake fluid. But if your pads and rotors show signs of wear or warpage upon inspection, it is important to replace these parts.

Top Off Your Windshield Washer Fluid

Given the dirty and wet road conditions of winter, chances are you’ll be using your windshield washer fluid a lot more than usual. While most reservoirs hold a large amount of fluid and are slow to run dry, it’s best to make sure it is full before the snow starts. 

Before replacing your washer fluid, check its temperature rating. Some windshield washer fluids freeze below a certain temperature. Make sure yours is rated for the cold temperatures of Utah to help keep your windshield clean even in the iciest of storms.

Replace Old Windshield Wipers

Windshield washer fluid won’t help you much if your wiper blades don’t work properly. Next time you are driving, test them out. If the blades aren’t wiping away the water and grime it’s time to replace your blades. Not sure what size to buy or how to install them? Your owner’s manual can help, as well as the employees at your local automotive supply store. 

Spray Off Salt 

Salt is very effective at melting ice and keeping Utah roads clear and safe, but it also destroys the metal on vehicles. Left unchecked, rust can settle in and make a new car look and feel worn out in a matter of years. 

After a storm, or whenever salt is used, be sure to drop by a local car wash and spray off the undercarriage to remove any lingering salt deposits. Rust can cause extensive damage to a vehicle and keeping salt off is one of the best ways to protect your investment throughout the cold of winter. 

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