Fleeting snowfall, heavy morning fog, and a distinctive chill in the air can only mean one thing: winter is here!
As much as we all love the fun activities that come with snowy weather, it can do real damage to our property. You’ve probably taken all necessary steps to prepare your home and wardrobe for the current cold, but have you taken care of your car?
Winter car care is absolutely necessary for the proper operation and maintenance of your vehicle and we don’t just mean investing in a pair of snow tires!
Make sure your car is ready to take on the elements with our handy winterizing checklist.

Restore Your Headlights

Winter visibility – or lack thereof – can make driving a little bit scary. It’s especially dangerous here in Idaho, where the plethora of rural roads and their lack of streetlights make normal nighttime visibility low.
It’s extremely important to make sure that your headlights are clear and shining brightly to guide your way through the darkness and heavy layers of fog. If your headlights are yellowed or foggy, they won’t be able to do their job properly.
At McDowells, our expert technicians will restore your headlights to their former brightness, often in the span of just a few hours! This new clarity will help you see better and feel safe as you drive home on these cold December nights.

Wash and Wax Your Car

Many people tend to avoid washing their car during the winter because there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to keep that spot-free shine for long.
Contrary to this belief, however, you should absolutely be washing your vehicle during the winter. Salt and sand spread on the road as deicers which both cause damage your undercarriage and wreak havoc on your paint job.
Washing your car can save you from needing an expensive paint job in the future. As a bonus, you’ll also get the satisfaction of having a clean and shiny car!

Take Care of Your Wipers

Winter in the Treasure Valley means snow flurries and rainfall. To drive safely, you’ll need some trustworthy windshield wiper blades and strong wiper fluid.
Over time windshield wipers crack and split. Slow and squeaky blades don’t perform well enough to handle rainy or snowy weather.
We recommend changing your wiper blades to be more durable and winter ready.
Even with the best wipers, the snow and rain can still leave grime on your windows. Make sure to top off your wiper fluid reservoir to ensure a crystal-clear drive.

Check Out Your Tires

One of the best things you can do to prepare for winter weather is to invest in a nice set of snow tires. Not only do they provide you with the necessary grip and traction to prevent slipping, they also are made of rubber that is flexible even in lower temperatures.
No matter what type of tire you use, it’s always a good idea to check up on the tread of your tires. It should be at least 5/32” for the best winter traction.
If your tread is 2/32” or below, they will offer virtually no traction and should be replaced regardless of the time of year.
An easy way to test your tire tread is to use the Penny Test. Simply stick a penny into your tire’s treads with Lincoln’s face pointed toward the tire. If his head disappears, you’re good to go. If you can still see his entire head, it’s probably time to replace your tire.
Make sure to test every tire in multiple places to get the most accurate result from the Penny Test.

Change Your Oil

In order for your engine to run properly, it needs proper lubrication. During winter, the oil in your car used to lubricate the engine thickens, making it harder to circulate through the engine effectively.
Keep your engine running smoothly by making sure that you have fresh oil in your car.
Consult your owner’s manual, mechanic, or dealership to determine if thinner oil during the winter months would be a viable replacement.

Put Together an Emergency Kit

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend putting together an emergency kit to keep in your car.
Your kit should include the basics: first aid supplies, water, food, flares, a knife, phone chargers, a crank flashlight, blankets, and shelf stable food items.
You may also want to pack an extra jacket, a shovel, a jack, car cables, and kitty litter or sand for traction.
We recommend keeping your emergency kit in an easily accessible place. Only place it in your trunk if you are sure you could get to it in an emergency.

Call a Professional to Repair Chips and Dents

Whether the neighborhood kids accidentally hit your car with a hard snowball, or a chunk of ice flew off the truck in front of you, chips and dents can still happen in the winter!
If this happens to you, don’t sweat it. Call the pros!
At McDowells Specialty Repair, our team of experts will take care of those dents in no time. We’ll make it look as good as new!
Give McDowells a call today!

(208) 378-1530