Save money by preparing cars for winter

By Jessi Haish

As another northern Illinois winter approaches, it is important to “winterize” automobiles. Winterizing an automobile saves money, time and stress down the line.

Without a good set of tires, most cars are dangerous to drive on slick and slippery winter roads. Good tread on tires gives the traction a car needs in winter in order to grip to the road. While snow tires are an option specifically for the winter months, new, high-rubber tires are excellent as well, said Jim Anderson, owner of Illini Tire Co., 1031 W. Lincoln Highway.

“There is a huge difference between new and worn out tires and you see it in the winter,” Anderson said.

Anderson also suggested looking into new tires before snow even touches the ground.

“Check the forecast,” Anderson said. “If a lot of snow is coming, investigate into a new set of tires, and soon.”

Good tires are incredibly important during the winter months, and Russ Haendel, owner of A-1 Auto Repair, 816 Lacas St., lists it in his “big four” of items to take care of in preparation for winter. Haendel said windshield wipers, antifreeze and car batteries are all important areas that need to be checked. Haendel said a good service shop will look into these and also recommend looking into an oil change and tune-ups.

“If you take your car in for an oil change, you can ask a mechanic to ‘winterize’ your car,” Haendel said. “And, of course, always make sure your heat and defrost are working.”

Haendel also suggests creating a kit to keep in the car: essentials like jumper cables, a blanket, and candles can go a long way.

“Always keep two pairs of gloves in your car,” Haendel said. “One pair will always get wet and you’ll want a spare.”

However, winterizing isn’t only for cars. NIU’s Huskie Bus Line ensures that buses are working and available during the colder days. Although the bus schedule is different during December and January, buses are still prepared for routes.

Additive is put into the diesel fuel the buses run on so the engine performance isn’t as affected during the winter months, said Al Davis, general manager of the Huskie Bus Line.

Buses are also plugged into electrical systems at night.

“We do this to help keep engine oil warmer so engines can turn over easier in the morning,” Davis said.

The Huskie Bus Line will be on “break service” starting Dec. 14. Contact the Huskie Bus Line for more winter schedule information at 815-758-6900.