Now is the time to prepare your vehicle for winter.
Blink twice and you'll miss it—I'm talking about fall—and before you know it, you'll be sweeping a few inches of snow off the windshield of your vehicle. But before you can tell work you're working from the slope ... err, I mean, home, you've got to make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Better yet, do it now so that when that day comes, you can focus on what you really live in Denver for: fresh Colorado champagne (fresh snowfall for you non-skiers).
With that said, let's run through the basics of preparing your vehicle for winter.
1. Make sure your tires are up to the task
A good set of winter tires can make all the difference, and in some cases, the law requires them. If you're traveling on I-70 with the new Traction Law, you're required to have either a set of winter tires, a tire sock, chains, all-wheel-drive, 4-wheel-drive, or a set of mud/snow tires with the M+S designation. Your tires also must possess a minimum of 1/8th of tread depth.
Not sure how to check? Use the quarter test or ask a professional to check for you. Failing to abide by these guidelines can earn you a fine ranging from $130 to $650.
2. Check your battery
According to AAA's Automotive Research Center, a car battery can lose about 60 percent of its strength at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. At 32 degrees, it loses about 35 percent of its function. That's because your basic automotive battery features lead plates in an electrolyte solution causing an electrochemical reaction that is accelerated or decelerated by temperature. You can ask your local auto parts store or your local mechanic to check your battery. Or, if you have a multimeter, you can perform the test yourself, just do your research.
3. Ensure all of your systems are working properly
Did you know that a faulty engine cooling system can affect your heat? That's because the hot antifreeze that's exiting the engine block is then pumped through a heater core, which then heats the air that your vehicle's fan then pumps through the vents. Test your heat, and if you suspect it's not as hot as it should be, contact your local mechanic. You don't want to be caught without a way to defrost your windshield, and don't forget to top off your windshield wiper fluid while you're at it!
4. Speaking of windshields ...
If you have bad windshield wipers now, they're only going to get worse in the winter. Don't be reckless, replace your windshield wipers. Many places will even do it for free, all you have to do is buy them.
5. Have an emergency winter car kit—especially if you plan on making frequent trips to the mountains.
Everyone's emergency kit is different, but make sure you at least cover the basics, including a shovel, a windshield scraper, jumper cables, high energy bars, bottled water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a pocket knife, a lighter, cat litter, a few flares, extra blankets and clothing, necessary medications, and a tow strap. Additional items could include hand warmers, a whistle, phone chargers, etc.
Pro tip: Keep your car's fuel tank at least half full and always ensure that your tailpipe isn't obstructed by snow, as it can cause deadly Carbon Monoxide gas to enter the cabin.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips on preparing your vehicle for winter? If so, let us know in the comments below!