One can almost smell it in the air, the cold season. All we have to do is look to Pikes Peak to see it is becoming filled with beautiful snow. It is that time of year to dust off the snow board, ask your local butcher to prepare your holiday turkey and most important, make sure your car is ready to transform from the “take me to my summer activity vehicle” to the “keep me safe in cold, rain, hail, mixed climate time of year”. Your team at Perkins Motors wants you, your family and everyone in Southern Colorado to be safe this cold season, so we collected a few easy tips to consider tips to make your time driving up and down the Front Range safe(s) and sound(er)!
1. OIL! Change it. Change it the right way. This is a key, so don’t procrastinate! Make sure to ask your car technician to use the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year when the temps can quickly dip into the 20s. 30s & 40s. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. We have a crack-team at Perkins who can advise you, then implement the best plan for your car’s oil needs.
2. Make sure you can see, YES see! We are talking wiper blades here. Seriously, when WAS the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. In addition, be sure to always be filling up your windshield washer system with fresh windshield washer fluid. Don’t be fooled by what some folks say “washer fluid is like water, so save money with water” – a HUGE no no as it will FREEZE. Also ask your technician to evaluate your heater and defroster so you can keep the windshield nice and clear. Again, we are here to help. We are dedicated to making it easy for you to make an appointment to ensure your car is safe this winter.
3. Love your battery, love it! Late fall and early winter is the perfect time to make sure your battery is corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If you think that your battery is more than three years old, have us take a look. That is the time most batteries begin to fizzle out. Be sure to also have jumper cables with you, but when the weather is 35 degrees you don’t want to be outside looking for a ‘jump’. Best to have confidence in your battery while also having jumper cables as you never know when you may leave your car lights on while picking the kids up at practice.
4. When was the last time you checked tire pressure? Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive around (something even the biggest car enthusiast can forget during Colorado’s beautiful summer) Colorado Springs. Tire traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the temperature begins to get colder. As you know, the cold rushes in swiftly around here, so it’s important to see where things stand now. Your owner’s manual will tell you what your target tire pressure should be. However, if you want Perkins to double check for you, just call and we can check while also recommending a good tire gauge that you can carry in your glove box.
5. Do you have four-wheel or all-wheel drive? Let’s be honest, most of us do in the springs. How can we get up the good skiing without it, right? Therefore, it is important to check the status of your four-wheel/all-wheel drive system and be sure it’s working correctly — especially because we don’t use it nearly as much in summer.
6. Lights, camera - safety: Seeing and being seen is important in nasty weather. Have a family member or friend stand outside the car, to make sure all the vehicle lights work: headlights, fog lamps, tail lamps and turn signals. If
they don’t work, replace immediately. Besides the safety factor, don’t forget law enforcement will want to have a say too if not working.
7. Don’t take a break from your brakes: When roads are coated with nasty snow, slick rain or worst of all BLACK ICE, it becomes much harder to STOP quickly. Have your brakes checked by an expert. Make sure they are ready for Colorado’s wild winter where road conditions can change from hour to hour.
8. Emergency kit: You never know when you may break down and slide off the road. In that emergency, a time when it could take a few minutes for people to find you, consider keeping these things in your car: blankets, water, first aid kit and a candle – yup, a candle – this is one of the only ways to create predictable heat if your car turns off. You can light the candle and put a blanket over yourself to generate a quick source of heat.
Be safe this winter and the best way to do so is to get in front of any problems.
-Crystal Johnston, Perkins Motors Director of Marketing.