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Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter Weather?

Road during winter
The temperatures may already be colder but in most parts of the country like South Carolina, the winter weather hasn't truly hit just yet. This means you still have time to get your vehicle ready for winter conditions. This requires more than simply ensuring your heater is in proper working order. Here are four things you need to do to keep yourself and your vehicle safe this winter.

1. Check the Windshield Wiper Fluid

Begin preparing your vehicle for winter weather by checking the windshield wiper fluid. You will want to ensure that the windshield washer reservoir is completely full during the wintertime. It’s vital to always be able to maintain a clear windshield during inclement weather no matter how much snow or ice is falling.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that the same windshield washer fluid that you have kept in your reservoir throughout the summer is simply not going to cut it during the colder months. Instead, you need to switch to a wintertime fluid that consists of deicer or a special concentration for winter. Otherwise, the fluid will freeze. The winter solution will be a ratio of 1:1 (anti-freeze and water).

2. Change to a Winter-Grade Oil

You should also consider switching the oil that you are using in your vehicle because the oil's viscosity can be affected by colder temperatures.

Generally, when the temperature rises, the oil will become thinner. Therefore, a higher-viscosity oil has the ability to ensure your engine is adequately lubricated during the summer. During the wintertime, however, a heavier oil doesn't do the trick — you need a lower-viscosity oil. Therefore, if your vehicle normally takes 20W-50, you would possibly want to switch to 10W-30 during the winter.

3. Check Your Brake Pads

During the winter months, bad weather conditions and icy roads tend to mean that you must apply a bit more pressure to your brake pedal to bring your vehicle to a complete halt. To ensure that you are able to stop quickly and avoid getting stuck in the middle of a snowstorm on the side of the road (because it could happen, you never know), you will need to check your brake pads.

Generally, thin or damaged brake pads will begin to make a squealing sound when you brake. Brakes may also feel hard when you press down on the pedal, or they may require a bit more pushing power than usual to bring your vehicle to a stop. If you notice that your vehicle is pulling to one side while you are driving down the road, it could be a result of worn down brake pads.

If you notice any of these issues, your brake pads need to be changed immediately. If you continue driving on thin, worn, or otherwise damaged brake pads, you are putting yourself as well as others at risk, especially on icy roads.

4. Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires

As the temperatures decrease, the air pressure in your vehicle tires does as well. In fact, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your tires will lose a pound of pressure. While this may not sound like a lot, it can add up over time. When your tires are low, it can negatively affect the way your vehicle handles on the road, and this can be dangerous on wintry roads. Therefore, it is important to ensure your tires are always properly inflated.

Whether you are taking a winter road trip or you just want to make sure that your vehicle is ready to tackle the colder weather, contact the auto professionals at Morrison Automotive & Truck to request an appointment. We have ASE certified and master certified technicians ready to work on your vehicle as soon as it comes to our shop.