Chicago Auto Show Blog

Preparing Your Vehicle for the Long Chicago Winters

Posted by: Erin Guth

Yes, I know fall has just begun. If you're a Chicagoan, you know that means winter is right around the corner. Plan ahead this year and prepare your vehicle for the winter season ahead. We've complied five steps to help you get your vehicle winter-ready. Tip: Be sure to follow the steps soon while it's still bearable to be outside...unless you have the luxury of a heated garage!

1) Replace windshield wipers and purchase washer fluid with antifreeze solution.

The last thing you want is to be driving in the middle of February (perhaps to the Chicago Auto Show) during a freezing rain storm with worn windshield wipers and no washer fluid. Be sure to check the rubber on the wipers for cracks or splits. A general rule of thumb is to change wipers every twelve months.

2) Be sure the heater and defroster are working effectively.

Do not wait to test your vehicle's heater until the first cold morning of the year. Also, be sure to check the defroster setting to be sure it's functioning properly; foggy windshields and windows make it difficult to see.

3) Keep your gas tank full.

Low fuel levels can be dangerous in the winter -- and not just when you're stranded during a snowstorm. Water can condense in the fuel tank due to rapid temperature changes and sink to the bottom. If that water gets into the gas lines and freezes, you're in trouble. We know gas prices are high, but the price to make repairs are most likely higher. Err on the side of caution and keep your fuel tank above the 1/4 mark.

4) Check the pressure in the tires.

Wet, slippery and sometimes icy roads are common in the winter. Maintaining proper tire inflation pressures is critical to have good traction and braking -- not to mention helps decrease tire wear. Tire pressures decrease 1-3 psi for every 10 degrees in temperature drop.

5) Prepare an emergency kit to store in your trunk.

A properly-inflated spare tire, basic tool set, jumper cables, fire extinguisher and a flashlight are just a few things that can help when stuck in a bad situation. Check our blog soon for a more elaborate list of suggested items to store in the trunk for the long Chicago winters.

Once you've checked off all the items on the list above, get in your car and take it for one last joy ride before the snow begins to fall!

What else do you do to winterize your vehicle? Share with us below or tweet us @ChiAutoShow.

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