Why and how to winterize your vehicle

Oct 16, 2023, 8:30 PM

Cars spinning out on a snowy Utah road. Preparing your vehicle for winter helps keep Utah roads saf...

FILE: Drivers struggle to negotiate the roads on the avenues of Salt Lake City, Tuesday morning, Dec. 13, 2022. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Given the influx of newcomers to Utah, there are many who might not know why and how to winterize your vehicle. 

Being a transplant from California, you never forget your first time driving in a snowstorm. I found out the hard way how unprepared I was after spinning out on Interstate 15. It was due to semi-bald tires. 

“During the winter time when there’s snowstorms and things like that, we get a lot of crashes,” said Utah Highway Patrol’s Sgt. Cameron.

But, Roden said now is a great time to start winterizing your vehicle. The most important place to start is your tires. They’re the only thing between you and the road.

“It’s important to check your tire’s tread depth. When you look at that tread depth make sure there’s no spots on the tire that are really worn compared to other spots on the tire,” Roden said.

Check each tire’s air pressure and ‘wear bar.’ Every tire has a wear bar. They are small, raised bars in the grooves of the tire to measure how the tread is being worn down. Roden said if your tread is starting to get down towards that wear bar, it might be a good time to start looking at new tires. 

Visibility is also key. That’s why Roden said making sure your windshield wipers are fresh, topping up washer fluid and clearing your headlights of ice and snow is a must. The Utah Driver Handbook recommends using a freeze-resistant cleaning solution for wipers.

The handbook also suggests taking it easy when driving in snow or ice. Others will be driving slower, so don’t disrupt traffic by driving faster.

You can check out Zero Fatalities for a full list of winter driving safety tips.

Related: Another big Utah winter? A KSL meteorologist weighs in

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Why and how to winterize your vehicle