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How Do I Prepare My Vehicle For Winter?

Published on Apr 4, 2023 by Dylan Weiher

The preparation for winter and snow is on everyone’s mind as the leaves begin to change colors and the cool winds of Fall blow. Most people do things like putting the boat away, wearing a coat, and sipping pumpkin spiced lattes. Even though these traditions are an important part of our annual Fall ritual, there is one thing that is often overlooked. That, of course, is preparing your car for Winter too! It is probably no surprise that vehicles play a major role in our lives. All of life’s adventures are made possible by them. For this reason, it is very important to prepare your car, truck, or SUV for the winter months. 


In the following section, we will cover a few common service department questions. Kunes service expert Brandon Johnson answered the questions. Brandon has over 12 years of experience in this field, so he was able to give us great insight on the best way to prepare your vehicle for Winter. 


What are some things I can do to prepare my vehicle for Winter?

  • Tires
    • Between your vehicle and a slippery road surface, tires provide the first line of defense. We recommend that tires with tread depth less than 5/32″ be replaced. In the summer you can get by until 3/32” tread, but not in the winter. When the snow, slush, and ice hit the roads, you will want the extra assurance. A trick to better understand this is to take a penny and insert it upside down in the tread pattern of your tire. If the tread pattern doesn’t cover at least a portion of President Lincoln’s forehead, it is time to get new tires!

  • Battery
    • Your vehicle’s battery is its heart. You will not be able to go anywhere and your vehicle will not even start without it. This means you are not only stuck, but you’re also without heat during the cold winter months. Our experts recommend having your battery checked before winter. It may be time to replace it if it’s over four years old to ensure you don’t get stranded in the cold. 
  • Coolant
    • Check your coolant protection temperature to make sure it will not freeze up on you in the winter. This is imperative to ensure your engine runs at peak performance when you need it the most.
  • Wiper Blades
    • It is recommended that you install beam style wiper blades every winter. These blades will assist in preventing ice buildup. Beam blades have an infinite number of contact points and will hold up even in the harshest of weather. The lifetime of some beam blades is up to three times longer than conventional blades.

What are the main differences between Summer and Winter tires?

  • Tread
    • The tread on these two styles of tire are very different. The winter tire is designed to expel snow and slush as you drive, compared to a summer tire that will often have snow fill the tread pattern causing you to lose a lot of traction.

  • Grip
    • Even in below-freezing temperatures, winter tires are designed to keep grip. The Siping and rubber are specially designed to cut through the snow and grip the ice better. These features are not included in summer tires and are useful when traveling in less than ideal conditions.

Notice how Abe Lincoln’s head is not covered at all? It’s time to get new tires!

What is the biggest benefit of winterizing your vehicle? 

  • Peace of mind
    • There is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road when it’s cold out. Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you regardless of snowy, cold conditions. 

  • Protect your investment
    • By taking care of your vehicle before winter, you lower your risk of needing major work done in the event something happens to your vehicle. Buying a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases a person can make. Small preventive measures taken ahead of time can save you from costly repairs down the road. 
  • What you can avoid
    • Costly repairs
    • Being stranded
    • Accidents
    • Injury/Loss of life