Winter car maintenance: 5 critical services your vehicle needs to survive
Residents along the Wasatch Front can expect six months of snowfall, according to Current Results. Most years average more than 6 inches in March and 4 inches in April. That means Utah drivers still face weeks of wet, slick and dangerous road conditions.
While Utah’s fickle weather might be beyond control, there are many things you can do to get around town safely.
One of the most important things you can do is to know the condition of your vehicle — from tires to brake pads. At Volkswagen SouthTowne, certified technicians make it easy to see exactly what’s going on with your car with their QuikVideo, which is sent directly from their technician to the customer via email or text. Check out an example of one of these videos here.
Here are six services that your car needs in order to survive and thrive in the winter.
Tire balance and alignment
When it comes to safe winter driving, your vehicle’s ability to grip the road, especially in adverse or cold weather conditions, is key to safe driving. Over time, your tires can gradually go out of balance and alignment, making for less than ideal traction and handling.
If your tires are out of balance you will probably experience some steering wheel shake and vibration at certain speeds, and/or uneven treadwear on your tires. Because of this, your ability to safely handle potentially dangerous driving scenarios can decrease.
Shane Botelho, service manager for Volkswagen SouthTowne, recommends checking and balancing your tires every 3,000 – 6,000 miles to ensure proper tread wear, a sentiment shared by many major tire companies. Additionally, if you’ve hit a curb this winter, have recently put on new tires, or have had any other suspension work completed, an alignment is also a great idea.
If you’re looking for a great deal on this kind of service, Volkswagen SouthTowne is offering $25 off a four-wheel balance and alignment through the end of February.
Lube, oil and filter change
Perhaps the most familiar maintenance item for car owners is the oil change. And for good reason! The importance of getting your vehicle’s oil, fluids, and oil filter changed, especially in the colder months, cannot be overstated.
“For Utah drivers – especially skiers, snowboarders, and anyone traveling up to the mountains or commuters — it is vital to make sure your car’s fluids are in good shape and that you get those fluids from trusted sources,” says Botelho. “Volkswagen models require specific oil and filters from Volkswagen. Using OEM (manufacture) compliant parts and fluids is really important to the efficiency and safety of your vehicle.”
Engines have to work extra hard in the cold to start, and too often drivers don’t give their vehicle adequate time to warm up before hitting the road. These bad habits, coupled with the weather, can contribute to added strain and wear on the engine.
Right now, Volkswagen SouthTowne is offering $10 off a lube, oil, and filter change through the end of February.
For some drivers, dedicated winter tires might seem like an unnecessary, added expense — especially if you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle. However, all-wheel-drive is not effective alone in snowy or winter conditions.
All-wheel-drive can increase acceleration capabilities but doesn’t do anything for turning and braking in the cold, or worse, snowy and icy conditions. Road and Track explains winter tires are essential for areas like Utah, where the temperature frequently drops below 45 degrees. Because typical all-season tires’ rubber does not have the flexibility required to be effective in stopping and turning on the cold pavement, getting winter tires is essential.
If you happen to own a Volkswagen Golf or Jetta, Volkswagen SouthTowne has an incredible deal for you. Right now through the end of February, they are offering a full set of wheels and winter tires for only $600. Considering that a set of winter tires alone could set you back for that price, getting them mounted on wheels for $600 is a deal too good to pass up for Golf and Jetta owners.
In the winter especially, the ability to brake quickly and safely is critical. Brake pads are an essential part of your vehicle’s braking system and your safety. Essentially, they are the first contact when it comes to slowing down and coming to a stop. Without them, other major and more costly components of your vehicle will rapidly start to wear away, leaving you with a dangerous vehicle and a hefty repair bill.
According to Bridgestone Tire, most brake bads will start to squeal, or worse, make a grinding noise when they are getting precariously low on pad depth. Most pads last 30,000 miles or so.
“When you visit Volkswagen SouthTowne, you’ll get what we call a “QuikVideo” from one of our factory-certified technicians detailing what they found and checked in your vehicle, and showing you anything that needs attention,” says Jeff Davis, director of operations for Volkswagen SouthTowne. Check out an example of one of these videos here.
Lastly, a yearly maintenance item often neglected is that of replacing wiper blades. Cars.com explains that “wiper blades are exposed to dust, dirt, and debris, all of which contribute to their wear and tear. Driving with worn wipers can be dangerous, and you should replace them as soon as you notice impeded visibility from streaking or an inability to clear the windshield.”
Given the near-constant use of wiper blades in Utah during the winter, it’s a good idea to annually replace wiper blades. And if you’ve ever tried to replace wiper blades by yourself, you know it can be a tedious and frustrating process.
Should you need wiper blades for your VW, Volkswagen SouthTowne will give you $5 off genuine VW front wiper blade replacement and will install them for you for free, from now through mid-March. See their website for more details.
Winter shouldn’t be a time of neglect for your vehicle, but a time of proactive maintenance — especially with the great discounts available at Volkswagen SouthTowne. Visit their service website for more great service deals and coupons.