Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

November 15th, 2019 by

A close up of a car with winter tires driving on snow in Cincinnati, OH is shown.

Like it or not, run from it all you want, winter is very nearly upon us and the cold weather will bring snow, slush, and ice with it. Although there are a number of things you should do to get your vehicle ready for winter, your tires, in particular, need to receive some special attention to make sure you stay safe. This area can be tough on your vehicle and your tires. Cincinnati, OH, is unforgiving when it comes to the winter, so it’s best to be prepared ahead of time.

Let’s start off by discussing some simple but very important things you should do to make sure your tires are ready for Cincinnati in the winter. Then we’ll look at a few general things to make sure your vehicle is prepared overall, and that you will be safe on the road this winter. Just remember that when the weather is bad, your reaction time can be delayed, so it is best to slow down and take your time. By driving a little slower, you can stay safer and avoid collisions that can be dangerous and expensive. So, here’s our simple guide on how to take care of your tires and prepare your vehicle for winter.

Check Your Tire Tread

One of the simplest and fastest things you can do to take care of your tires in Cincinnati ahead of winter is to check your tire tread. There are tools you can use to do this, or simply take a coin and use it to check your tread. We suggest starting off with a quarter – place the quarter in the tread of your tires with Washington’s head pointing down toward the tire. If his head is covered even somewhat, then you are good – but if you see the top of his head, then you will need new tires soon.

You can also do this same test with a penny. But, if you do the penny test and see the top of Lincoln’s head, then new tires are much more urgent. Using a quarter gives you more time to react and get new tires on your vehicle.

Check for Uneven Wear on Your Tires

While you are checking the tread on your tires, you should also look them over and pay attention to how they are being worn down. What you want to look for, specifically, is signs of wear and tear on your tires that seems uneven. If the inside or outside edge of your tires is more worn then the middle, then that’s a bad sign.

Different things can cause uneven wear on your tires, including over or under-inflating and issues with your alignment. These can be pretty simple to fix and will ensure you ride more smoothly on the road and maintain better traction. Excessive wear to your tires means it is time to replace them, though, you should also replace your tires if you have had them for more than 6 to 10 years.

A finger is pointing to wear on a tire, which is a common clue that you need new tires in Cincinnati, OH.

Make Sure You Have All-Weather Tires

At the very least, you should have all-weather tires on your vehicle, though these are actually not ideal. If you enjoy the nicer weather here with summer tires on your car, then you definitely want to have them changed to seasonally-appropriate tires before driving in snow or slush. All-weather tires are designed to be decent enough in all kinds of weather, but to be honest, they are really not your best option.

Consider Snow Tires

While all-weather tires are better than summer tires, they are not an ideal choice for tires in Cincinnati in the winter. Snow tires or winter tires are a much better option because they are designed with deep, wide tread and specially shaped grooves meant to move snow away from your tires. Even all-weather tires can easily get snow, slush, and ice packed into them, reducing traction and making driving dangerous in winter weather.

Snow tires can be expensive and may seem like a luxury, but they can really make a big difference when driving in bad winter weather. Even if you have four-wheel drive and think you’re immune to slippery conditions on the road, the wrong tires will still leave you spinning. Snow or winter tires are designed specifically for handling snowy and icy roads, giving you the best traction and control possible while driving in the winter in and around Cincinnati.

Now that your tires are in good shape, consider the following to ensure the rest of your vehicle is ready for winter.

Check Your Fluids

Before the weather gets really nasty, now is the best time to check the various fluids in your vehicle and make sure you are all set. Check your coolant and your wiper fluid to make sure you won’t break down and that you will be able to clear off your windshield if the weather gets ugly. You can take your vehicle to a shop or bring it to us for a lube job to make sure all of your fluids are fresh and ready for winter. 

Get that Oil Change

No seriously, if you have been putting off getting your oil changed, do it now before the bad weather is at our door. While you need to take care of your tires in Cincinnati for the winter, you also need to make sure the rest of your vehicle is ready for it – and nothing is more important than your engine. Changing your oil will not only ensure you keep running smoothly, but you can also get the right kind of oil for the cold weather. Don’t wait, get your oil changed.

Make Sure Your Battery is Good

A mechanic is checking the battery voltage of a car battery.

While you’re at it, you should also check your vehicle’s battery and make sure it is in good condition. There are battery testers that you can buy, or you can come visit us at McCluskey Chevy, and we will check your battery for you to make sure it’s in good shape. The last thing you want to do is find yourself late at night, in an empty parking lot or in the middle of nowhere, stranded because your car won’t start.

A new battery might be an inconvenient expense when we’re all stressed out about holiday shopping, but it is far better than the alternative. If you think a new battery costs a lot, just imagine how much more it will cost to get a tow truck to come get you in the middle of the night on a lonely stretch of road between Cincinnati and Amelia.

Pack Emergency Supplies

Finally, while you are thinking about preparing your car and tires for Cincinnati’s winter, make sure you also have an emergency kit and supplies in your vehicle. If you do find yourself stranded and can’t get anywhere for a few hours, these items will make things much better – and can even save your life in an extreme situation.

At the very least make sure you have the following packed in your vehicle:

  • A change of clothes including socks and shoes or winter boots
  • A warm blanket
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottles of water
  • An emergency roadside kit including flares, jumper cables, and warming packets
  • A well-stocked first-aid kit

These items will come in handy if you break down and need to wait for help. Just remember, if you are stranded, the best thing to do is stay with your vehicle – wandering into a cold winter night will make you harder to find and can result in serious injuries or worse. With all of these factors covered, from winter tires to an oil change, you and your vehicle will be well prepared for the winter ahead. 

Posted in Tires Cincinnati