Car on a snowy road — Auto Body Repair in Englewood, CO

If this will be your first winter driving in cold, snowy Colorado, you need to know how to prepare your vehicle for safe winter driving. However, even if you have lived in the state for years, you may not realize that you are neglecting important steps you can take to keep you and your passengers safe on the road all winter long.

Check Your Battery

The last thing you want to happen in the middle of the freezing Colorado winter is for your vehicle to refuse to start on a cold winter morning or to die due to a dead battery while you are driving. Winter temperatures in Colorado can reach 18 degrees F or even much lower.

This makes it important to have your existing battery load tested before the cold winter arrives, even if you have not had previous problems with because cold temperatures affect battery performance.

When exposed to freezing temperatures, a chemical reaction occurs in your battery that makes it less powerful. At 32 degrees F, your battery is 35 percent less powerful than usual, and at 0 degrees F, your battery loses 60 percent of its power. In addition, in extremely cold temperatures, your engine needs more power to start. This makes it important to have a powerful battery during the winter.

In addition, you may want to check out your battery's CCA, or Cold Cranking Amps, rating. This rating designates the battery's ability to start a vehicle in cold temperatures. The higher the CCA rating of your battery, the more likely it is to function well in cold temperatures.

Have Your Braking System Inspected

Your vehicle's braking system needs to be in good working order all year long, so you can stop quickly on the road when necessary to avoid auto accidents. However, when driving on salty winter roads, the salt can cause your brake lines to rust. This can lead to brake fluid leaking from corroded areas of your brake lines and ultimately total brake failure when you need your brakes most.

You can avoid a winter braking disaster by having your entire braking system inspected now, including your brake pads, rotors, and brake lines. Catching any brake line corrosion now can limit the chance that your brake lines will leak if they do corrode slightly in winter weather.

Wash the undercarriage of your vehicle on a regular basis this winter to rinse off the salt to keep brake line rust to a minimum, and have your braking system inspected any time you notice your vehicle stopping more slowly or experiencing other braking issues.

Equip Your Vehicle With Winter Tires

If you have all-season tires on your vehicle with deep tread, you may think that you are ready for the road this winter. While tires need to have deep tread in the winter, the tread design and the rubber the tires are made of also affect traction when temperatures are freezing and roads are covered in snow and ice.

When freezing temperatures hit, the rubber that traditional tires are made of becomes stiff, which can reduce your traction on the road. The rubber that winter tires are made from stays soft and malleable during freezing temperatures to provide a good grip on snowy and icy roads.

The traction on winter tires is designed with projections that grip ice much more effectively than the tread on all-season tires.

Whether you will be facing your first winter driving in cold, snowy Colorado or you have driven in the state for years, obtain a pre-winter vehicle inspection at Sam's Automotive Reconditioning Center to ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving and will keep you and your family safe on the road this season.