Put Winter Tires on Before it Gets Cold
Don’t wait for the season’s first snowfall to change your tires. Cito Ramos, a service advisor with Midas Service Experts, says tires lose their effectiveness at seven degrees Celsius. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber compound, which allow them to maintain their flexibility at lower temperatures. He suggests swapping your tires in November, right as the weather starts to cool down. It’s also essential that you change all four tires when preparing for winter. Look for the graphic of a mountain with a snowflake to distinguish winter tires.
Don’t Over-Inflate Your Tires
Just as all-season tires lose their flexibility in lower temperatures, causing them to be hard and rigid, having overinflated tires can also lead to risky situations. Tires with too much air have the tendency to slide, rather than grip the road.
“Over-inflation makes the tires all that much harder,” says Ramos. He suggests trying to keep your tires up to the suggested inflation pressure, which may vary for different types of tires. Also, it’s important not to read the inflation pressure off the tire. “That’s only telling you what the maximum inflation pressure is for your tires,” he stresses. All vehicles should have a notice on the door or door jam that informs you what your tire pressure should be inflated to. If not, the information is available in your owner’s manual.
Check Your Fluids
Make sure your coolant – also known as antifreeze – is doing its job. A 50-50 mixture of antifreeze and water works best. “Make sure it’s at a tougher strength,” Ramos advises. “It gets weak over time because of dilution or contamination and may not hold up at really low temperatures.” It’s worth testing and flushing the coolant if it doesn’t meet the specifications or requirements. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is to invest in a coolant tester. The tool, which resembles a turkey baster, measures the fluid and reads out how far below zero degrees the coolant will work.