Don’t be too slow in prepping for snow

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 4, 2017


METRO DETROIT — A car can’t put on a winter coat, but there is plenty a driver can do to make a vehicle more suitable for colder weather.

Pat Till, assistant service manager at Serra Chevrolet in Southfield, said drivers could minimize their chances of a breakdown or a disaster on the roads with some maintenance tips.

He advised drivers to get their vehicles checked to make sure the coolant or antifreeze protection level is satisfactory. Till also said motorists should test their batteries to make sure that they aren’t on their last legs.

“The average life expectancy of a battery is four and five years, so that’s really your pivotal time,” he said.

Cold weather can also negatively affect tire pressure. As a result, drivers should check their tires’ pressure, using the information for proper inflation levels that is located on the inside of the driver’s door jamb, Till said.

He also recommended looking over the tire’s appearance and making sure that the tread depth is 4/32nds of an inch or greater.

“Inspect the tires for any dry rotting or cracking,” he added.

To keep snow or sleet from blocking the view, windshield wiper blades should be inspected for possible replacement before winter, Till said.

Apart from maintenance issues, a winter-ready vehicle should carry some extra supplies on hand. Till recommended stowing away a snow scraper, a jack, a spare tire and a winter roadside safety kit with blankets and  ares.

Susan Hiltz, public a airs director of AAA Michigan, recommended additional items like a small snow shovel, a flashlight, a charged-up cellphone, jumper cables, a simple toolkit and nonperishable snacks. She also recommended some abrasive material like salt or sand to help get a vehicle out of a rut.

“If we had a sudden snowstorm where snow was falling very rapidly, that can really wreak havoc on the road,” she said. “There are multiple things with the colder weather that put us all at higher risk. The more that you’re prepared for it, the better we’ll be able to handle it.”

Learn more about Serra Chevrolet, 28111 Telegraph Road, in Southfield by visiting or by calling (248) 455-6693. Find out more about AAA Michigan by visiting