You know how winters are in Iowa—sunny one day, four inches of snow the next, and ice the following week! The weather can change in a minute, but your car can always be ready for whatever the winter clouds bring to Cedar Rapids. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your car for winter so you can have peace of mind going into the season.
START WITH A COMPLETE INSPECTION
The first thing we recommend is a Total Car Inspection. Here at All Tune & Lube, you get a thorough maintenance inspection that shows you exactly where your car, truck, or SUV stands. One of our ASE-certified mechanics will take a good look at your brakes, filters, and hoses and checks off a lot of other items, too. We provide this inspection with every visit, so bring your vehicle in for an oil change—another great thing to do before the weather gets cold—and we’ll see how your vehicle is doing and what it needs in order to be ready for the winter season.
GAUGE YOUR CAR’S BATTERY LIFE
Make this the year that you don’t have to get someone out to your house to get a jump or to replace your battery! If you can’t remember when you had your battery replaced, it may be time for a new one. With the pandemic, many of our vehicles have been more idle than in the past. Lack of use can be a factor in battery life. So can exposure to heat and cold. The time to check out the battery is before you need one, so come to All Tune & Lube for a vehicle inspection in the fall, before the snow flies. We’ll check out your car’s battery to see how old it is, and we’ll recommend replacement if yours is past its useful life.
EVALUATE BRAKES & TIRES
The way your vehicle handles in winter driving conditions of snow, melting snow and ice depends a lot on how well your tires and brakes are operating. You simply can’t afford to drive without tires and brakes that are in good operating condition.
One of the easiest things you can do is to check your tire pressure. When the temperatures drop, your tire pressure can drop, too, because the air in the tire gets cold and shrinks. This can affect how well your vehicle handles, and it can affect the wear on the tires. Since tires are an investment, let’s make sure you get your money’s worth by taking care of your tires. Get or borrow a tire gauge and check to see if your tire pressure matches what is recommended on the tire pressure chart located on the edge of your car door.
You can check your tire tread level by using a penny inserted into the tread, with the top of Lincoln’s head pointed down. If all of Lincoln’s head shows, your treads are worn, and it’s time to replace your tires. If the tread cuts off the top of Lincoln’s head, you have more tread wear left.
Finally, take a look at the way tires are wearing. If the wear seems uneven, there may be a problem with your alignment. A tire rotation and tire balance may be in order. If you have been feeling shaking in the steering wheel or feeling the car pull to one side, it is likely time to get your tires rotated, aligned, and balanced. Our technicians will inspect your tires, but you can learn more about tire care here.
STOP & LISTEN
Brakes are important all year, but the last thing you want is for your brakes to fail in the winter when you need them the most. The slightest bit of snow can make it difficult to stop, so it is absolutely essential to have your brakes in their optimal condition before winter. A brake inspection is an important part of any vehicle inspection. It could mean the difference between skidding into another vehicle and having zero incidents on the road.
One thing you can do to determine the health of your brakes is to listen. Yep—turn off the radio, open your windows, and take a drive around the neighborhood. If you hear any squeaking or squealing at low speeds or while braking, that is an indication that your brake pads have worn down. Pay attention to these sounds and have your brakes checked when you hear a constant squeak. (Sometimes the wear indicating squeak doesn’t work, so you should still have your brake pads inspected a couple of times a year.) Our technicians will determine how much time you have left on your brake pads. We can give you an estimate of the cost, as well, so you can plan your brake job in advance.
CONSIDER REMOTE START
As we all know, Iowa winters can be brutal. One way to ease our way into winter is by having a remote starter on our cars. This allows you to start your car while you’re still inside, so it warms up in advance. Not only does that ensure it is nice and toasty for you and helps melt any snow, ice or frost, but it is also easier on your vehicle to let it warm up a couple of minutes before hitting the road. If you don’t have a remote start, All Tune & Lube can set you up with this feature. We have the ability to add it to most vehicles. Learn more about getting a remote start.
WINTER EMERGENCY KIT
Do you have a winter emergency kit in your car? If you get stuck in the snow, a well-stocked emergency kit helps you and your family stay warm. This may seem silly because you always have a cell phone with you, but it could be important if cell service is unavailable. Here are some useful items to have in your winter emergency kits. Put a bag or bin of these items together for all of your vehicles, and stock it with a couple of energy bars before the season begins.
- Extra Gloves
- Hand warmers
- Ice scraper
- Small shovel
- Sand or cat litter
- Tire chains
- Extra cell phone charger
Remember to check your spare tire to ensure it is inflated, and make sure you have a jack and jumper cables, just in case.
Let us check out your vehicle while you think about what you need for your winter emergency kit. We make it easy to ensure that your vehicle will be safe to drive this winter, no matter what weather comes our way.