The winter months can bring a whole host of severe weather conditions that can wreak havoc on your vehicle: salt, snow, moisture, and freezing temperatures can all increase the amount of wear that your entire vehicle experiences. Fortunately, there are a few maintenance tasks that you can do to reduce the amount of stress that your vehicle experiences, while also ensuring that your car is operating at peak performance – which can help reduce the risk of a collision in inclement conditions.
The salt and moisture that cold weather brings with it can increase the amount of friction and wear that your brakes experience. If you notice that there is a rattling, pulling, or any kind of loud and abnormal noises when you apply the brakes, you should probably have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic at an auto repair shop to determine if the brake pads need to be replaced, or if there is an underlying issue with your calipers or rotors. Doing this before the roads ice over can help ensure that you can adequately control your car's speed.
Obviously, one of the most important things that you can do for your vehicle is to replace your summer or all-season tires with winter tires for increased grip. However, you should also pay attention to the condition of your tires: if you've been using the same winter tires for a few years, you should keep an eye on the tread – if the wear bars, which run perpendicular to the tread of your tire, are even with the tread, you're overdue for a replacement.
Furthermore, you should also regularly check your tire pressure every few weeks after the temperature dips. This is because the cold temperature can cause the air within your tires to compress, reducing the pressure and increasing the amount of wear that your tires experience. Top the pressure up as needed as the temperature changes.
You should pay particular attention to your battery, which can quickly lose its charge due to cold temperatures. You can check the charge of your battery with a multimeter, available at most hardware stores, and recharge it as needed using a car battery charger – also available at most hardware and automotive parts stores. It's also a good idea for you to pack a set of jumper cables in your car during the winter in the case that your battery suddenly dies in a parking lot somewhere.