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I know, we don’t want to think of it, but it’s autumn. That means winter is right around the corner, especially in my neck of the woods. Living in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA, the hilly road conditions, paired with ice and plenty of snow, make for downright treacherous driving conditions sometimes. But, this Northern-born gal has learned a few tips for “seasoning” my vehicles every winter. From tread to wipers and everything in between, here’s easy steps to prepare your car for winter.
Having lived near Pittsburgh, PA, for most of my life, you may be surprised to read that I was born in New Brunswick, Canada. I spent most of my elementary school years on an Air Force Base in Northern Maine. When I talk to folks about the wintery conditions that I remembered as a child, I get gaping mouths. Foot after foot of snow, plows continually passing by our windows, and minus-forty below temps were our average winters. It was my father’s driving tips and takeaways from living in that area that have stuck with me all of these years.
Honestly, they’re common sense. They’ll help to keep you and your family safer on the road this winter. And, if you only learn one new tip because you know all of the others, I’ve still done my job.
Check Your Brakes
No one wants to drive around on poor-performing brakes. Add slippery roads into the mix and you want your brakes in the best shape possible. Happily, I have a husband and father that can fix and repair brakes, brake lines, and brake pads, so you can bet they’ve got constant vigilance when it comes to maintaining them. Here’s my two cents. If you notice any rubbing, hear squeaking or squealing, or even if you just have a gut feeling, take your vehicle in to be inspected. Please.
Check Your Tire Tread – with Lincoln’s Head
Ahh, President Lincoln. Even in present day he offers good advice. Take a penny and place it in the tread of your tires. If you can see the top of his head when it’s upside down, you need new tread. Seriously. Technically, it means that your tire tread is less than 2/23 of an inch. And, that means you’re driving in not-so-ideal conditions. It also means you’ll need to invest in new tires.
It turns out that this year my vehicle was in need of new tires. So, with Sam’s Club Membership number in hand, I visited its official website to check out the Sam’s Club Tire Selector Tool. Sure, you can check the the tires that are already on your car or look inside the door jam for sizing instructions, too. But, when you have a husband driving the car and you need to know right then and there, the selector tool works very well.
Which tires did I go with? Goodyear® Assurance® WeatherReady™. They’re now available at Sam’s Club and my husband has always been a huge fan of the brand, so it was a no-brainer choice. While it’s not Goodyear Tire’s first all-weather tire, is is their best to date.
Bonus? with a purchase of four tires, Goodyear will give you $80 off the total price on a set of four Goodyear tires instantly. That means no sending in rebates or waiting for cash back.
Word of note about Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady Tires and the Goodyear Savings:
- Excludes medium commercial truck tires. Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer can be changed, modified or cancelled at any time. No rain checks. See a Sam’s Club® Tire & Battery Center Associate for eligible tires, details, terms and conditions.
- GET $80 OFF INSTANTLY* ON A SET OF FOUR GOODYEAR® TIRES
- This tire only fits certain vehicles.
Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady for the Win!
Here’s the scoop on Pittsburgh, PA, if you’ve never been. We have a fun phrase that we like to use pretty frequently: it’s an area where you need the heater on in the morning and the a/c on at night.
And that’s so true. One moment it feels like a perfect summer day and the next? Snow and ice. And, compliments of our hilly, windy roads, we’ve got even more to deal with when winter weather hits. It times like these that unpredictable weather makes for driving challenges and I want to make sure I get home safely no matter what Mother Nature throws my way.
Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady Tires offer a reliable warranty and even tread wear. Sam’s Club helps maintain that even treadwear by offering free tire rotations with tire purchase, too. The tires have 3D TredLock® Technology Blades that allow me to have predictable traction when weather conditions change suddenly.
Test your Battery
I don’t know about you, but my cars’ batteries always work perfectly – until the cold weather sets in. It’s always on days with blustery temperatures that my car’s battery just says “nope”. And, compliments of that happening several times in my life, I’m more careful about checking the battery’s installation date.
It’s crazy, but as expensive as car batteries are, the lifespan of one is between two and five years. It turns out that Northern climate drivers get a little more usage out of their batteries, so I’m happy to know that.
You can take your car for free battery tests and many car garages and parts stores. It only takes a minute or two, too.
Fill ‘Er Up!
This tip I learned from my dad when I was a new driver: never let your gas tank level drop below half if you can help it. This is even more important in the winter months. Gas can have water and sediments in it and they’ll sink to the bottom of the tank. Drop the gas levels low and you’ve got a better chance of both hitting your fuel line, and that’s all-around bad news.
You also want to keep a full fuel tank in winter in case you get stranded on the road somewhere. You’ll need that extra fuel to heat up your vehicle’s interior and keep you warm. If that does happen, remember to heat the car in spurts.
Check the Fluids
Now’s the time to check your car’s fluids. Look for low levels in the windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, and coolant. While you should be checking all of these frequently anyway, signs of fluid leakage, too. And, don’t forget to check your oil.
The Wipers on the Car Go…
Swish, swish, swish. Or, at least they should easily. You want quality wipers on your vehicle at all times, but this is particularly true in the colder months. In all likelihood, you should be changing your wipers every six months to a year. Look for breaks or cracks in the wipers. Check for signs of wear and tear on the windshield including spotty visibility. Look for the wipers making contact with the windshield. If you notice any changes, replace immediately. And, if you don’t know how to replace them yourself, many car parts stores do – and for free.