Get your car road-ready before winter


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Nobody wants car trouble in the middle of winter weather.

Giving the car a little tlc now, could save you from being broken down on a cold winter’s day.

Ivy Tech Automotive Chair John Timberman says changing out the oil to a winter-blend is extremely important.

“Usually a thinner oil like a 5W-30, a 5W-20, or maybe even 10W-30, but nothing any heavier than that,” urged Tmberman. “That’s about as heavy as you want to go with motor oil right now.”

It’s also a good idea to check and clean the battery leads of any corrosion using a brush or cleaner. Just remember that the black lead is the first one off and last one on. Break that rule, and you’re in for a shock.

You could also be stopped cold if you don’t check the engine coolant.

“The last thing you want to have happen is this coolant to freeze in the engine,” said Timberman. “So that’s why we check it, for the integrity of that.”

The coolant should be able to weather 30 to 40 degrees below zero. Your accessory drive belt will also need to be ready for extreme temps. If any cracks or glazing is found, have the belt replaced.

You’ll also need to carefully handle the wiper blades before driving in the cold.

“If you don’t break them loose before you turn them on, they may be frozen to the windshield and could break the connection to the wiper motor,” said Timberman. “Then they don’t work at all.”

Sticking a penny between treads on a tire is a quick way to gauge whether you need new tires. If it’s upside down and doesn’t cover most honest Abe’s head, get new tires.

“I would want good tread on the front, especially in the winter,” said Timberman. “Obviously it’s going to help you dig in snow and icy conditions.”

Tires should be inflated a bit lower in the winter, between 32-34 psi.

Timberman recommends having the brakes inspected by certified professionals.