Get Your Vehicle Ready for Those Wily Winter Roads

Published on November 01, 2015 07:01 AM in Maintenance
Get Your Vehicle Ready for Those Wily Winter Roads

A vehicle that’s unprepared for winter extends an open invitation to breakdowns and malfunctions. A downpour is the wrong time to learn your wipers are ineffective. Visibility, traction and planning are vital this time of year, and our experts have plenty of advice to get you and your passengers ready for winter’s wrath.Check Windshield Wipers, Replace if NecessaryWiper blades are made of rubber and composite materials that degrade over time. As is the case with any product, wiper blades vary in quality and value, said Ron Fausnight, technology specialist at RainX.

"Cheap wiper blades tend to corrode and wear out,” Fausnight said. “Inexpensive construction causes streaking or smearing that reduces visibility.”

Blades with a heavy-duty steel spine and steel rivets last longer than parts made from plastic, he said. A blade able to conform to your windshield outperforms those with rigid construction, Fausnight said.

"Look for blades that offer quality rubber composites for good performance and rust-preventative coatings for long life," Fausnight said. "A strong edge to the blade enables you to sweep away a foggy mist and push ice away, instead of sliding over it,” Fausnight said.

Banish Jack Frost from the Windshield and Doors

“Keeping a clear window is essential for safe driving,” said John Goldbach of Invisible Glass premium glass care products. “Anytime you don’t have good visibility you can’t see the danger in front of you and that impacts your stopping distance.”

Areas prone to snow and substantial frost should fill their windshield cleaning reservoir with a de-icer to bring things back into focus.

An added benefit? De-icing fluid can be sprayed on door locks to prevent the metal from seizing up.

Know How to Use Chains

Anyone who lives in a region battered by snowstorms knows how indispensable chains are.

The right snow chains often means the difference between a safe arrival and sliding off the road. Applying chains isn’t something people encounter day after day all year long, so experts recommend a dry run before going out into the real world.

“Practice installing tire chains before you actually need them. It’s easier to learn how to put them on in good weather in your driveway than on the side of the road in a blizzard and please drive safely,” said George Kosidowski, vice president of sales and marketing at of Peerless Chain Company.

Create (or Update) Your Winter safety kit

The Wisconsin Emergency Management Team suggests stowing away the following items in your emergency kit:

  • Dry clothes
  • Blankets
  • Small shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Cell phone charger
  • Cell phone
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Road flares, reflective vest and/or flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack and ground mat for changing a tire
  • Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporary repair of a hose leak)
  • A jug of water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Maps that provide an alternative to smartphone navigation, especially in remote areas
  • Protein-rich food like nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages in case your cell phone isn’t receiving service
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
  • Kitty litter for traction if you’re stuck in the snow