Is your car ready for winter?

Nokian Tyres Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri with the company’s Hakkapeliitta non-studded studded concept tire. Credit: Nokian Tyres

Is your car ready for winter?

October is the time to get your car ready for the cold months. But according to a 2014 Google survey, 44 percent of drivers in cold climates do not plan to prepare their car for winter. Not only does this risk the inconvenience of a breakdown, it can be more costly and unsafe in the long run to leave your preparation until the storms begin. Some things, like checking tire pressure, you can do yourself, but it’s also a good idea to take your car to your technician for a checkup before the snow hits. Here’s a checklist to help winterize your car, as suggested by the Car Care Council:

Antifreeze, oil and batteries

Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.

Be diligent about changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.

Vision and safety

Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.

Have the brakes checked. The braking system is a vehicle’s most important safety item.

Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and that headlights are properly aimed.

How do I get my tires ready for winter?

Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.

If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. Snow tires have more spines than other tires, which give them greater surface area.

Should I consider studded tires?

Studded tires give you more traction in slippery conditions, with small pins that grip into the ice. The downside is they can cause damage to regular roads and make channels that fill up with water and become a hydroplaning hazard. For this reason studded tires are not permitted in all states, and in some states they are only permitted during the winter months. Check the regulations in your area.

Move over James Bond

If that all sounds a bit complicated, take a look at the latest innovation that allows you to have the benefits of studded tires without the risk of damaging the roads. Nokian Tyres has a new line in development that’s fresh out of James Bond — flick a switch and you have all the traction you could need for that unexpected ice.

Described as “an amazing technological feat” by Nokian Tyres Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri, the Hakkapeliitta non-studded studded tire is in concept stage at the moment, but keep an eye out; 007’s tires are on their way.

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