Winter presents several challenges that you won't encounter during other seasons: longer hours of dark, lower temperatures, more bad weather, icy streets, and snowstorms. However, this season of cold can be just as safe to drive in if you follow these tips:

Prepping the Interior

When you break down in warm weather, you might stand outside your car and wait for help to arrive or walk to the nearest gas station. If you break down in the middle of a snowstorm, you may have to wait in the cold for help to arrive, or brave inclement weather to fetch help.

You can endure either situation if you store extra survival gear in your car. This can include warm clothing, gloves, blankets, food and water, a flashlight, an ice scraper, medications, a first aid kit, a shovel, power bricks for your smartphone, and jumper cables.

If you do break down, stay with the vehicle as much as possible because it does provide temporary shelter. Keep in mind that help may take longer than usual to arrive because it's likely that they are dealing with other vehicles who are in the same situation that you are. Turn on your blinkers and tie a bright piece of cloth to the antenna to remain visible to emergency responders and other drivers. Clear the exhaust pipe of any ice or snow. A blocked pipe can leak dangerous carbon monoxide into the passenger compartment.

Whenever you go out, let others know where you're going and the times you expect to arrive at your destination and return home. They can then determine if you need help if you do not show up at your specified times. Avoid running the engine constantly or you may run out of fuel. Instead, run it just long enough to warm the interior.

Prepping Your Vehicle

Your vehicle can better cope with winter's tougher driving conditions if you prep it beforehand using this checklist.

·         Check and change your antifreeze, oil, washer liquid, and other fluids. You don't want to discover that you're out of anti-freeze while you're on the highway in the middle of a snowstorm

·         Check the tires. Inspect the treads and make sure that your tires are filled to the correct pressure. If you do plenty of driving on snowy or slippery roads, consider switching to snow tires.

·         Replace worn wiper blades with versions specially made for winter.

·         Inspect the battery, especially the cables and fluid.

If you take your vehicle into the service department of Harley Swain Subaru in Hermiston, OR, we can do all these tasks plus several others to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the cold season.

Driving in the Snow

The best advice we can give about driving when it's snowing is don't. You won't have to worry about hazards or unnecessary risks if you stay safely at home. However, if you do have to go out, remember to take more time and drive slowly because you'll have less traction on snow or ice.

Add more space between you and the next vehicle to give you more time to maneuver. Decelerate and accelerate slowly to maintain traction and avoid skidding. Avoid stopping, if possible because it will take more effort to start from a full stop than it would to continue moving while your wheels are still moving. If you approach a stoplight, try slowing down so that your wheels are still rolling when the light turns green.

Find out how your brakes behave during winter, which differs whether or not you have antilock brakes. In general, keep your heel on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply steady pressure. During the first snow, you may want to practice driving and braking in an empty parking lot to regain winter driving skills that may have disappeared the rest of the year.

Develop a strategy for dealing with hills. Don't step on the accelerator to go up the incline because your wheels may spin and lose traction. Instead, try to gain some inertia before you reach the hill and allow that inertia to carry you over the crest where you can reduce speed to go downhill slowly. Try not to stop on any part of the hill because you risk skidding downward.


  • Monday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Tuesday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Wednesday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Thursday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Friday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Saturday 09:00am - 06:00pm
  • Sunday 11:00am - 4:00pm

Harley Swain Subaru

1915 N 1st Street
Directions Hermiston, OR 97838

  • Sales: 541-567-9696
  • Service: 541-567-9696
  • Parts: 541-567-9696