How to prepare your vehicle for rainy spring weather


As a rainy spring season begins in the region, it's time to take stock of your vehicle and make sure you are prepared. In expectation for frequent precipitation, windshield wipers, brakes and tires should be at the top of your list.

Here are a few ways to prepare your car for traveling in the Guttenberg, Iowa, area that will help keep you and your fellow passengers safe and comfortable this spring.

First, working windshield wipers are a must for maximum visibility while driving in the rain. The cost for new wiper blades is about $20 to $40 per pair. You can change them yourselves, or purchase new ones and have the old set replaced by a mechanic during your regular car maintenance service in Guttenberg.

Your tires are another feature that factor prominently in keeping you safe while driving on wet pavement. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out, proper tire tread is crucial to prevent your car from sliding or hydroplaning. In preparation for a rainy season, check your tread depth, which should be greater than 2/32 of an inch for safety reasons. Some tires have built-in treadwear indicators, according to the NHTSA. Another easy method to check tread depth is to put a quarter - with Washington's head upside down and facing toward you - between the grooves. If the top of his head shows, you should get new tires. Maintaining sufficient air pressure in your tires also is important. Underinflated tires can reduce your vehicle's traction on wet roads.

Next, make sure all your lights - including headlights, taillights, turn signals and brake lights - are working and the plastic lenses clean and clear. When driving in the rain, notes, you generally use your headlights more often for the benefit of oncoming drivers. Daytime running lights aren't sufficient, and some states even require motorists to turn on their headlights when their windshield wipers are in use, the article states.

Additionally, check that your defroster is running properly. According to an article by ABC 7 News, you should turn on the defroster in the rain to keep all the windows free of interior moisture so you can see out them clearly.

Finally, have your brake system checked, and worn brake pads replaced if needed. Remember your brakes may not respond as quickly when they're wet and cold. Take that into consideration when deciding how close to follow the car in front of you while it's raining or when the road is slippery.

When it comes to preparing your vehicle for rainy weather, you may need parts or services from a certified mechanical shop. Contact Brown's to schedule an appointment or order parts and accessories. Located in Guttenberg, Brown's is happy to serve all of Northeast Iowa, as well as surrounding cities, including Dubuque; the Quad Cities; Cedar Rapids; Manchester; Waterloo/Cedar Falls; and Prairie Du Chien, Wis.