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Don't end up out in the cold: Follow these tips to keep your car working during winter

Posted at 6:23 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 23:51:38-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every winter, weather wreaks havoc on our cars. 

We recruited two experts to share some tips to tackle the season—Alan Heriford with JoCo Auto Repair in Merriam, Kansas and Roy McDaniel with KC Complete Auto Service in Midtown Kansas City, Missouri.

1. Wiper blades 

Tip one focuses on your wiper blades. Make sure they’re in good shape. Try to select the ones with the fewest contact points that attach to your car. In this case, it’s better to spend a little more money and save trouble in the long run. 

“What happens with these economy ones is the ice and snow build up behind the attachments and it prevents the blade from making good contact with the windshield,” said McDaniel. 

It’s also important to switch out your washer fluid to a winter blend.

"They sell a product that has a deicer in it and those are the best those are good to about negative 35 degrees," said McDaniel. 

2. Tire tread

Tip number two deals with your tires. Check the tread. Most newer tires some with “wear bars” molded into the rubber that allow you to see when the tread is worn past it’s prime. If the tread is too low it becomes unsafe, especially in slippery conditions on the roads. You can also use the penny test. Turn a penny on its head down and stick it in the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s heads, the tread is too worn and likely needs to be replaced. 

All season tires are the best option in winter weather. But the air pressure is key too. 

“Pressure in tires is sensitive to temperatures. It’s not uncommon as the temperature goes down the pressure in the tire goes down as well,” said Heriford. 

You can usually find the pressure per square inch or PSI recommendation inside your cars door frame. If your tire has low air pressure it doesn't have the same coverage area as designed. It could also cause a blowout. 

3. Check your breaks

Tip number three – inspect your breaks.

McDaniel at KC Complete Auto services said he sees it all the time. 

“If they lock up and you have a hydraulic issue or you have an anti-lock brake system issue next thing you know you’re sliding around on the road causing more grief than good," McDaniel said.

4. Battery

Tip number four is to get your battery checked. 

“A lot of times you’ll want to check how old the battery is how old should it be it depends in our area about four years average age before it will go bad,” said Heriford.

5. Preventing frozen locks

Tip five is a reminder to prevent frozen locks. 

“Let’s say Gary [Lezak] says there’s an ice storm coming you want to get ahead of the game. You can get a pre-spray at your favorite auto-parts store to prevent that ice building up,” said McDaniel. "Do not boil water and toss it on your car’s windshield or windows or even locks. The drastic temperature difference could cause the glass to break."