December 1, 2021

Drivers getting vehicles ready for cold, snowy weather

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

James Poindexter of Cortland, a technician with Tallmadge Tire of Cortland, mounts tires Wednesday at the shop. Beyond the first snow of the season, temperatures have dropped enough so snow tires won’t wear unduly, which can happen when the road is warmer than 45 or 50 degrees.

Even as sun and warmer weather expected over the next few days, people are still preparing their cars for the next snowfall.

But auto shops said Wednesday to get in now for snow tires because there may not be many options this year.

“We’re getting a lot of people in for snow tires,” said Ray Nauseef, the manager at Trombley Tire & Auto on Groton Avenue in Cortland.

The coronavirus pandemic forced manufacturers to close and reopen facilities, so what stores have is likely what customers will get. Options are limited, said Tracey Kline, owner of Tallmadge Tire Service on Groton Avenue in Cortland.

“The sooner, the better because of those inventory shortages,” Kline said.

She also said the change in weather to slightly higher temperatures won’t make a difference for snow tires if people are still waiting to swap tires.

“The temperatures are cool enough so you’re not going to wear them out prematurely,” she said.

The less snowy November has actually helped Kline, though. In past years, she’s had to extend hours the week before Thanksgiving to meet demand.

Not this year. She said instead people have been consistently coming in over the last three weeks.

Nauseef said he’s seen about the same number of customers, too, even though the weather hasn’t hit peak winter yet.

Nauseef said as people look to winterize their cars they should get snow tires because they grip the road better, check to make sure their battery’s life is still good and switch their coolant to handle at least 20 degrees below zero. He also said people should make sure their windshield wipers are effective.


How to winterize

Check your tires: Winter tires are softer and offer better traction in cold weather, but can wear in warmer weather.

  • Check your coolant: Make sure it can handle temperatures of at least 20 below zero.
  • Check the battery: It works harder in cold weather.
  • Make sure you can see: Check your windshield wipers and pack a snow brush to clear the car. Top off the windshield wiper fluid. And use fluid that doesn’t freeze.
  • Pack an emergency kit: Include a flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit; jumper cables or a portable jump starter; sand or kitty litter; snow brush and ice scraper; shovel; extra washer fluid; basic tools; and warm clothing or a blanket and snacks.

SOURCE: AARP, Consumer Reports and Edmunds Automotive