In this series of articles, John, an expert mechanic at one of our Denver-area AAMCO car repair centers, will explain how your car works and give advice on a variety of do-it-yourself car maintenance topics. Today, John explains the basics of winterizing your car for Colorado driving.

John the MechanicAs temperatures drop and the holidays approach, it’s easy to forget that this is the most challenging time of the year for your car. Winter weather setbacks range from inconveniences like cars that won’t start to disasters like motorists skidding off the road or into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It’s easy to let that first whiteout catch you unprepared, but It’s vital to protect yourself, your family, and your vehicle by winterizing your car ahead of time. Don’t be left in the cold- follow these tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday season.

Winter driving in Colorado often means steep inclines and tight turns on icy or snowy roads. Investing in tire chains or snow tires is a must for those living at higher altitudes, since even well-plowed roads can morph into icy slip-and-slides within minutes. Give your tires some extra attention by making sure they’re inflated to their specific poundage and have enough tread to handle all road conditions. Check your tread by looking for “wear bars” that run across the hollow of each thread. When the tread’s been worn down to the same height as the wear bar, it’s time for a new set of tires.

Next, make sure your car battery is up to speed. Having a battery load test performed by a qualified technician can tell you whether your battery is strong enough to start in the winter months. At just 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker than at warmer temperatures. When the thermostat hits zero, that number rises to 60 percent. If your car doesn’t make the cut, a new battery will save you time and energy later on. Find a Colorado battery technician near you.

Winter Driving in ColoradoDon’t overlook your windshield wipers, fluid and defroster- driving with a windshield covered with snow, ice, or debris is a disaster waiting to happen. Check your wipers and defroster, and make sure you have a no-freeze washer fluid in your windshield washer fluid reservoirs.

Last but not least, check your engine coolant system. If you’re looking for maximum protection, mix the cooling system antifreeze with an equal portion or water. Your nearest repair facility can check your level of protection with a hydrometer. Find a nearby AAMCO cooling system maintenance location.

During the winter, motorists should include an emergency kit in their vehicle in case they are stranded in a storm or experience mechanical failure. Pack a bag with a flashlight, jumper cables, a first aid kit, tire chains, a blanket, an extra set of clothes, non-clumping kitty litter for traction, flares or reflective triangles, a gallon jug of water, non-perishable food items, window washer solvent, an ice scraper, a snow brush, and a shovel. Don’t forget extra batteries for the flashlight, and keep a cell phone on you at all times during winter travel. Don’t make the mistake of thinking an emergency kit is a luxury- in some cases, having these supplies on hand can mean the difference between life and death.

Make this winter worry-free by taking these steps today. Visit your Colorado mechanic sooner rather than later, to avoid lengthy service delays- once winter is in full swing, auto mechanics get very busy. Take care of your car so it can take care of you, and pass the message along to other drivers, so this winter Coloradans can hit the roads and the slopes with peace of mind.

For more information, or to find a Colorado auto and transmission repair mechanic near you visit aamcocolorado.com.