How to winterize your car

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DENVER — For those of us who live in Colorado, we know how quickly the weather can change. And this week it’s making a complete 180.

“We don’t always think about the capability of our car going up to the mountains,” CDOT spokesperson Amy Ford said. “It’s time to think about that. We are going to continue to make sure our snow plows are active and ready.”

But that’s only half the battle.

You should start where the rubber meets the road. Check your tires – it can make all the difference on the road, with CDOT saying almost 90 percent of the accidents they see in the mountains during the winter involve cars with bald tires.

To be safe, you need a set with at least an eighth of an inch of tread left on them.

“Otherwise,” Ford said, “you’re going to start to spin out in stop and go on conditions.”

In case you think this won’t happen to you, hearken back to February of this year, when a 104-car pileup in Denver brought I-25 traffic to a standstill. There were 22 cars at fault, and 19 of them had bald tires – most of them from Colorado.

In an effort to avoid similar incidents this year, CDOT is planning on performing traction tests at ski resorts with the help of volunteers. Those with bald tires will get a flier on their car that will not only point them to stores where they can buy new tires, but will include discount coupons, as well.

You should also make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition, that you have plenty of washer fluid so you can see, that you keep sand or kitty litter on hand in case you get stuck and that you pack an emergency kit if all else fails.

“Have extra food in your car and extra blankets,” Ford  said. “Make sure you have a good and charged phones. And if you ever do get stuck, stay in your vehicle.”

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