The average snowfall in Wisconsin ranges from about 40 inches in the southern part of the state, to over 100 inches in the snow belt regions near Superior. This year, we got a late start but in Wisconsin, winter can last all the way up through April! It’s not too late to think about winter specific car maintenance and necessary service to ensure you’re not left out in the cold. Below are some winter car maintenance tips to consider:
“All-season” tires are not designed for winter driving, especially in colder states such as Wisconsin. They are generally are not made of cold weather rubber compounds, they lack channeling tread patterns and come with less tread stripes than winter or snow tires. Even with front-wheel-drive and anti-skid systems, “all-season” tires are not going to provide the performance that a snow tire can offer. As a matter of fact, the single component responsible with how a car performs in cold weather and/or on icy or snowy roads is the tire itself. If you are driving in very severe weather — especially if you have to be on the roads before the highway crews — it makes sense to spend more to get the higher-end snow tires. Lastly, don’t forget to have your tire pressure checked regularly, especially in cold weather conditions. Local service specials.
Winter puts more stress on your battery, particularly if you park your car outdoors. If you notice your headlights dimming, if it’s been 3-6 years since you got a new battery and especially if your car needs a jump-start, it may be time for a change. Repair shops don’t usually charge very much to load-test your battery, and some car-parts stores will do it for free. Don’t try to change the battery yourself; a battery can weigh as much as 40 lbs. and are often times very tricky to remove. There are electrical and chemical dangers associated with changing a batter, not to mention that the old battery will need to be disposed of properly. If your battery is not under warranty, it’s not too late to replace it, before it leaves you and your family stranded. Find Local service specials.
Obviously, you’ll need to see the road to drive safely. The build-up of winter precipitation, dirt and salt on your windshield can greatly reduce visibility. Working windshield wipers and a solid supply of wiper fluid will ensure that you have a clear line of sight even in the nastiest snowstorm. Dedicated winter blades feature a rubber boot that prevents snow and sleet from jamming things up. Consumer Reports (CR) tested 15 wiper models, both silicone and rubber, and found that most did a very good to excellent job for the first 6 to 9 months but then performance fell off. Therefore, it’s best to replace your blades at least once per year. It’s not too late to have your wiper fluid reservoir topped off with a brand that has a lower freezing temperature. Local Service Specials.
- OIL & ANTIFREEZE FLUIDS
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a rating system for oil viscosity, which is often called weight. It’s expressed by four or five characters, such as 10W-30. The lower the number before the W (which stands for “winter”), the better the oil flows in cold temperatures. Therefore, your oil should be either multi-viscosity or 5W if you are in severe cold climate. Anti-freeze is designed to prevent summer boil-overs and winter freeze-ups. Waiting too long to remove coolant can harm your system and not perform the way you expect. Find a team of highly qualified ASE Certified technicians focused on providing exceptional service in a timely manner. If you’re interested in the best new-vehicle warranties, see Volvo’s Service for Life Warranty!