Get ready for winter with these 6 tips that won't leave you stranded

It's that time again -- snow and ice and freezing rain and more snow. Winter weather can present a challenge when you are trying to get to work or play. You don't want to get stranded in sub zero temperatures. And yet this is when the most breakdowns of unprepared drivers take place. So consider these common sense car maintenance service tips that will help keep you safe and your car running smoothly.

1. Stock up on Emergency Supplies

Keep a plastic container in your car stocked based upon how far you might travel from civilization and how many might be with you, you may want to consider the adding the following items:

  • flashlight with batteries
  • flares
  • blankets
  • a prepaid cell phone fully charged and turned off. You can make 911 calls without minutes.
  • wool socks, which help wick moisture away from feet and keep them warm.
  • gloves
  • winter hiking boots in case you need to walk a long distance in snow
  • a pan to heat snow to drink. Never eat snow for hydration when you're very cold.
  • a sheet of water proof vinyl to keep feet dry for a walk. Otherwise you may be ripping up your dash if you are really stranded.
  • lighter/matches
  • something to help you gain traction if you are stuck
  • nuts or jerky for energy
  • a gas can
  • scraper
  • a backpack

Now that we have you taken care of, let's talk about the car.

2. Check your coolant and antifreeze

Antifreeze and coolant keep your engine from freezing. A frozen engine can leave you stranded at the worst times because it is more likely to happen when those temperatures drop. Check these levels before days turn cold so you're ready.

3. Check your tires

Properly inflated tires with appropriate tread depth will better be able to avoid an accident that might leave you on the side of the road. The "Lincoln Test" is a helpful tool. Just stick a penny in between the tread with Lincoln's head toward the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, then your tread is not ready for winter and it's time to have your tires replaced. Don't forget to get them balanced and aligned for better control.

4. Switch your wiper fluid

Normal fluid freezes and is useless. Switch to winter windshield wiper fluid before it turns cold. It not only won't freeze but because of its make up, it actually helps melt ice and snow on your windshield.

5. Get an oil change

Regardless of how close you are to your next change, before days get cold, it is best to have your oil replaced with a thinner oil.

6. Prepare your battery

Always get your batter tested before it gets cold. In winter months the battery works less efficiently so it's using more power. On top of this, it charges for slowly, so it can't hold an adequate charge. This often leads to cars that won't start. During your winter car maintenance service, get it tested. If your battery is moderately near time to replace, it's best to get it replaced right before winter. Also, keeping an emergency battery charger and jumper cables in your emergency kit isn't a bad idea.

Time for a Winter Car Maintenance Service at Brown's

Before days turn cold, take your car in for a winter car maintenance service and you'll be ready for sub zero days, ice and snow. Contact Brown's to schedule a winter car assessment appointment. Located in Guttenberg, IA we are happy to serve all of Northeast Iowa and the surrounding cities including; Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Manchester, Waterloo/Cedar Falls and more.