In winter, vehicle maintenance is essential. In order to keep your car running in the colder months, it is important to winterize properly. Preparing for winter should be part of your yearly vehicle maintenance routine, and the specialists at Levin Tire and Service Center are here to help.
Here are a few tips to keep your set of wheels in optimum condition this winter;
- Check your tire pressure at least once a month. Cold weather causes tire pressure to drop. Studies show that for every 5-degree Celsius change in temperature, your tire pressure can alter from 1-2 pounds per square inch. Dropping temperatures also affect the elasticity of the rubber compound in your tires, resulting in reduced traction. It is important to keep tires properly inflated because this increases fuel efficiency and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.
- Consider buying winter tires. There's a good chance the tires on your vehicle aren't made for the harsh conditions of winter. Snow tires are specifically designed to provide better handling on snow and ice.
- Check the alignment. Your car’s alignment should be checked before putting on winter tires. Be mindful of your vehicle’s preferred settings for winter tire alignment. Winter tires have specific tread patterns and softer rubbers, which make them more susceptible to irregular wear caused by worn parts or misaligned suspension.
- Check tire tread depth. Stop into a Levin Tire and Service Center and let us help you determine whether your tires will last all winter, or for at least 6,200 miles. Inconsistent wear may indicate a mechanical problem, so it’s especially important for a professional to take a look.
- Check the coolant. Have the coolant tested to determine the lowest temperature at which the current coolant will protect your car. You may need to add more antifreeze to the mixture to improve its strength. It is also important to confirm that the coolant level is filled properly, as low coolant can keep your heater from functioning properly. Learn more about coolant and your cooling system here.
- Check hoses. Drivers tend to worry about engine hoses failing in summer, but truthfully, they can fail at any time in the year. If your hoses are more than three years old, consider having them replaced all together to prevent experiencing problems in inclement weather.
- Flush your radiator. In addition to new coolant, have the radiator flushed to remove any plaque or debris that may have been building up in the system.
- Check the heater and fan. Start your vehicle and let it warm up. Once it has reached the operating temperature, switch on the heater and see if it’s blowing air sufficiently. If output is weak, you may need to have the heater core replaced or repaired.
- Check your belts. Winter weather can cause your belts to become cold and brittle. Having a mechanic inspect them can save you a lot of hassle in the winter, especially if they’re on the verge of breaking.
- Check the battery. Your car’s battery can lose about 33% of its power if the temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and up to 50% if temperatures drop below zero. Be sure to have your batteries checked for power and corrosion every six months. Learn more battery basics here.
For more information about keeping your car safe in winter, or for a full-scale check on all your vehicle’s systems, visit or call one of Levin Tire’s locations. We are here to help you stay safe this season! Look for our article in Northwest Indiana Life, too!