Winter comes early here in Chicago. While summer may still have a few last gasps to give, the fact is that the cold, snowy, winter months will soon be upon us. If you want your vehicle to withstand the onslaught of another Illinois winter, now is the time to begin preparing your car or passenger truck for the colder months.

Below are some tips for winterizing your vehicle:

  • Make an appointment to mount your snow tires. You definitely want to do this before the flurries start falling. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the end of a very long line of customers all seeking snow tires at the same time.
  • Get your battery tested. The posts should be free of corrosion and the connections shouldn’t be weak or faulty. If your battery is older than three years, you might want to consider purchasing a new one.
  • Get your oil changed. The oil that worked just fine all spring and summer might not be sufficient for the cold winds blowing in off Lake Michigan. Instead of using 10W30 or 10W40 or another thick oil, you might want to switch to a thinner oil like 5W30 to ensure that your engine stays well-lubricated in even the coldest weather.
  • Check your brakes. The last thing that you need on a stretch of icy roads are iffy brakes that might not stop in time to prevent an accident.
  • Add the correct mix of antifreeze. To keep your engine from freezing in cold weather, you will need to have a 50/50 blend of water and antifreeze. 
  • Top off your tank. You never want to be stranded during a winter storm and run out of gas, so make sure that you never drive in winter with a tank that’s less than half full.

Accidents more prevalent in the winter, so no matter how safety-conscious you are, you are only as safe as the other drivers on the road. If you get involved in an accident with another at-fault driver, you will need to file a claim for damages in order to hold them liable for your injuries, damages and other losses.