How to prepare your car for winter in western Colorado

More snow may be on the way
Car preparations for winter driving
Car preparations for winter driving((KKCO/KJCT))
Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 10:10 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - An early-season winter storm brought snow to the Grand Valley and other parts of western Colorado. The National Weather Service reports it will continue into early this week, and the sudden change of temperatures this weekend is getting people to ready their cars for winter driving.

We spoke to a local tire shop about what you need to do to stay safe on the road during the winter season, especially if you’re driving to higher elevations.

The colder temperatures are on their way, and Jeffery Dottson, the owner of BMT Auto on 14th Street and Ute Ave, says it’s time to prep for winter driving conditions.

“You want to check your coolant levels because your coolant levels are what changes the temperature inside your car, your tire pressure, your windshield wiper fluid because you got to make sure you got winter fluid in there versus the summer fluid because summer fluid does freeze at 32 degrees out there,” said Dottson. “So those are other things you want to check.”

Dottson says he’s seen his fair share of worn-out and old tires. “They don’t really realize they need tires until they’re hitting a curb or slipping and sliding.”

And to avoid this, the Colorado Department of Transportation implements the passenger vehicle traction law in particular sections of Interstate-70.

“I would like to let you know a lot of traveling up to Denver because it starts snowing now,” said Dottson. “It’s going to snow all the way up to April or May.”

The traction law is active from September to May. Drivers must have either a four-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive vehicle with a minimum of 3/16th inch tread, or winter tires with a mountain-snowflake icon and 3/16th tread depth; or tires with a manufacturer’s all-weather rating and 3/16th inch tread or chains.

The CDOT traction law is intended to reduce delays and crashes during the winter season on I-70 between Dotsero and Morrison.

“So basically, have good tires for your safety for you and your children and live another day,” said Dottson.

If you’re heading toward Denver, the Colorado State Patrol will be conducting chain checks along I-70 on Monday and again on Wednesday.

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