All Things Automotive: Winterize your vehicle

Gerald Dong

Although it’s not officially winter yet, it will be here before we know it, and cold weather, snow, and ice can wreak havoc on your car, and be potentially dangerous, if it’s not properly winterized. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your vehicle.

Approved Auto Repair

If you haven’t taken steps to prepare your vehicle for winter, or you’re just not sure what to check for, visit any of our AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities ( for a routine oil change and 20-point inspection. Plus, as a reminder, AAA members receive a 10 percent discount on labor (up to $50) off any paid service.

All-season v. winter tires

In Colorado, the weather can change quickly during the fall months. It can be sunny and 70 degrees Fahrenheit one day, then snowing with a high of 30 degrees the next. So which tires are better: all-season or winter?

All-season tires are fine if you drive in areas with a few light snowfalls and where streets are reliably plowed and deiced. If you typically experience a few moderate to heavy snowfalls, or can’t rely on roads being maintained, you should consider winter tires.

Winter tires feature special tread patterns and softer rubber compounds that allow them to grip better on packed snow and in very cold temperatures. Note: Winter tires and snow tires are not the same thing. Snow tires are designed for heavier snow, ice, and even lower temperatures, and wear out relatively quickly on dry pavement.


Dramatic changes in temperature can cause your battery to fail, so it’s good practice to test your battery’s health, especially if it’s older than three years. With AAA’s Mobile Battery Service you can schedule an appointment at, or call 800-541-4261, and one of our technicians will come to you, whether you’re at home, work, or on the roadside. We’ll do a comprehensive test of your starting/charging system and determine your battery’s health.

If it does need to be replaced, you can purchase a AAA Premium battery at a member discount, and we’ll install it for you on the spot and recycle your old one. AAA Premium batteries offer one of the most competitive battery warranties on the market, with a 6-year limited warranty, including free replacement during the first three years.

If you’re more of a “Do-It-Yourselfer,” AAA Premium batteries are available for sale with a member discount at NAPA retail locations. Additionally, select AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities also offer the AAA Premium battery.

Best practices

Some other good tips to keep you and your vehicle safe during the winter months are to keep an emergency kit in your car with tire chains, sand or kitty litter, small shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, ice scraper, rags or paper towels, flares or other warning devices, booster cables, and a first aid kit. Bring blankets, jackets, hats and gloves, as well as water and snacks, for you and your passengers. And don’t forget to charge your mobile phone before you hit the road.

If you find yourself in a situation where your car doors are frozen shut, use a deicer spray instead of hot water. To prevent icing, when it’s dry outside, wipe down the door seals and spray the gaskets with silicone to prevent them from sticking.

Gerald Dong is the director of automotive repair programs for AAA Colorado.