Icy roads and snowstorms can make for difficult and dangerous driving conditions during the winter months. That’s why it is important to prepare your vehicle for the season before it arrives, as proper vehicle maintenance will help to keep you safe when you are out and about. Here are some tips to help you prepare your vehicle for winter driving.

Light Replacement

The winter months mean the days are much shorter, and thus there will be less light when it comes time for making your daily commute. This makes your vehicle’s headlights all the more important, so take time to make sure that your lights are working properly. Check each bulb in order to see if any of them are out, and replace as needed. If you notice that your headlights seem dim or that the covers look foggy rather than clear, it may be time to have the covers replaced as well.

Windshield Wipers

You will need properly working windshield wipers to clean rain, sleet, and snow off of your windshield. It’s not uncommon for wipers to need to be replaced about every six month. You will know that your wipers aren’t performing at their best if they leave behind streaks on your windshield. Fortunately, wipers are inexpensive, and many vehicle owners can replace them themselves. When winter weather hits, there are a few things that can be done to keep the rubber on your wipers from deteriorating too quickly. Leave them raised up when you park, as this will keep them from freezing to your windshield, and make sure you always have an ice scraper on hand to remove thick layers of ice.

Tire Maintenance

If you want to stay safe while driving during the winter months, you need to make sure that you prepare your tires properly. Consider putting winter tires on your vehicle, even if you don’t get much snow in your area. Standard tires don’t perform as well when temperatures dip below 45. Winter tires, on the other hand, have special compounds that allow for better traction in cold weather. This will make it easier for you to stop even when roads are iced over.

No matter what type of tires you have, you need to check your tire pressure at least once each week, as fluctuating temperatures can cause significant pressure changes. Tires that are under-inflated or over-inflated do not grip the road as well, and can put you in danger.

Radiator Flush

Radiator fluid is vital to ensuring that your engine doesn’t freeze during cold weather. In the winter months, you need to make sure that your antifreeze is full and that the hoses and radiator do not have any leaks. All vehicles need periodic radiator flushes to replace the old fluid, and your owner’s manual can tell you when yours needs to be done. It is important to get this service performed on schedule in order to ensure that your engine is functioning properly.

Climate System Maintenance

You don’t want to get in your vehicle on a frigid day only to discover that your climate system isn’t working properly. Your defroster should be able to get rid of fog and thin ice on your windshield efficiently, and your heater should keep your cabin cozy warm. If you notice that your defroster or heater isn’t working correctly, you will want to have them fixed right away.

Battery Voltage Check

Cold weather can put a strain on your battery, which is why you need to make sure that it is operating correctly before winter sets in. Many auto parts stores, as well as your local Jiffy Lube®, will check your battery voltage for free. If your battery needs to be replaced, don’t put it off. Just because your vehicle starts today, it doesn’t mean that it will when the temperature plummets.

Oil Change

Cold weather thickens oil, which can make it difficult for your vehicle’s engine to start. This is especially true if the motor oil is old or dirty. If your vehicle is coming due for an oil change, make sure to get it done on schedule to help prepare your engine for the cold weather. Clean oil and a clean filter ensure that your vehicle starts and runs efficiently.

Emergency Kit Preparation

No matter how much vehicle maintenance you have performed, things can happen when you are on the road, which is why you should have an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. It should contain things like a warm blanket, bottled water, non-perishable food items, antifreeze, flares, a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit. This will keep you prepared for most common on-the-road emergencies.

Proper vehicle maintenance is important year-round, but is especially vital both in advance of and during extreme weather. By following the tips mentioned above, you can ensure that your vehicle is ready for even the harshest of conditions, and reduce your chances of having a weather-related breakdown.

Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.

Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.

Go to ChicagolandJiffyLube.com for locations and services.