10 Tips to Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather

Snow-grade tires in winter

Consider using snow-grade tires on your car, truck or SUV during the winter when driving in the Chicago area

If you live in a cold-weather state like Illinois, or in the bustling city like Chicago, this is the perfect time to prepare your car for the upcoming winter months. From maintenance to emergency preparation, here are 10 steps you can follow to get your car ready this snowy season while living in the greater Chicagoland areas..

Not sure how to maintain your car? Leave it to the professionals at South Oak—our “Get Winter Ready” service special will ensure your car is fit to drive this winter. Use our service scheduler to set up an appointment, and we’ll be happy to assist you!


How to Protect Against Unsafe Roadways in Chicago

Check Your Four-Wheel Drive System

If you have a four-wheel drive system, it’s important to make sure it’s functioning properly before and during the winter months. Make sure all the drivers in your household know how to activate the system, and check whether the system engages and disengages easily. If you encounter any issues, take your vehicle to a professional repair shop for service. South Oak Jeep Dodge Ram Chrysler in Matteson are experts at explaining how to engage these type of four wheel drive systems.

Consider Switching to Winter Tires

If you live in Matteson, Frankfort, New Lenox, and Mokena you know that these areas encounter harsh winters each year. You may need to consider switching your all-season tires for winter tires (also known as snow tires). Although all-season tires generally provide decent traction, winter tires provide much more traction on snow. When shopping for snow tires, don’t forget to ask about installation fees and other costs that may be added to your bill.

Check Tire Tread Depth

Wear and tear on your tire treads can cause your car to slip and slide on wet, snowy, or icy roads in in %%di-city%% and Frankfort . Ensure your tires have proper traction by using a tire tread depth gauge to measure your tire treads on the center and outer edges of each tire.

How to Protect Your Car from Matteson Winter Weather Conditions

Prepare a Perfect Antifreeze Mixture

Aim for a mix of antifreeze and water between 50/50 and 70/30 in your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even in extremely cold temperatures. You can test the mixture with a cheap antifreeze tester, and if the mixture is off, it must be disposed of properly. If you don’t have a means of disposing of antifreeze, take this task to a professional.

Check Tire Pressure Regularly

Tires must be properly inflated to ensure steady traction, which is especially important in wet, snowy, or icy conditions. Drops in ambient temperature can affect tire pressure, so make sure to check your tire pressure regularly and refill your tires as needed. Proper air pressure for your tires can be found in the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Test and Maintain Your Car Battery

First, make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free. To clean the posts, disconnect the negative cable, then the positive cable. Next, use a battery cleaning tool or wire brush to clean the posts and terminals, and clean the top of the battery with a paper towel. Then re-install the positive cable terminal, followed by the negative cable. Finally, if your battery is more than three years old, make sure you visit a certified repair shop to test its ability to hold a charge.

Complete Maintenance on Your Windshield

Maintaining visibility is essential year-round, but especially in winter. Now is a great time to install a new set of windshield wiper blades, refill your window washer fluid, and check your heater and defroster (including for your rear window).

How to Prepare Your Car for Emergencies

Fill Up on Gas Often

Make sure you keep your gas tank at least half-full as much as possible, as you may need the extra fuel in an emergency situation. Additionally, a full tank reduces condensation, which can prevent your gas line from freezing. There are many gas stations located in Matteson.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Make an emergency kit to keep in your car in case you end up with car troubles or encounter another emergency. This kit should include the following:

  • a blanket
  • warm clothes, including boots, a hat, and gloves
  • a first-aid kit and paper towels
  • extra water and food (including hard candy)
  • an ice scraper and a shovel
  • flares and matches
  • a tool kit, a flashlight, and jumper cables
  • a candle-powered heater
  • a car charger for your phone
  • a notepad and pen or pencil
  • safety absorbent and extra anti-freeze
  • windshield wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • tire chains, a tire gauge, an air compressor, and a spare tire

Know How to Prepare for Emergency Situations

If you get stranded in winter weather, make smart choices to keep yourself safe. Light one flare at each end of your vehicle to signal for help, and stay close to your car unless you know exactly where you are and where help is. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for only about 10 minutes every hour, and leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut. You can also put your dome lights on for extra attention. Finally, put on extra clothes and use a blanket to stay warm, and suck on a hard candy to keep your mouth from drying up.

Utilizing Professional Maintenance Services to Keep Your Car Safe

Worried about how your car will withstand the harsh winter weather conditions? Let the experienced professionals at South Oak get your car ready for anything the season might bring. Our “Get Winter Ready Service Special” includes an oil change, tire rotation, front wiper blades, an air filter change, a 23-point visual inspection, and testing coolant strength for winter. To learn more or schedule an