How to prepare your car for El Niño rains

All forecasts are pointing to a strong El Niño winter, which means a high chance of significant rainfall for California.

In 2011, the last rainy winter, more than 8,615 people were killed or injured in California in crashes involving rain, snow and fog, according to the California Highway Patrol.

“You do not want to get caught without tires, brakes and windshield wipers in good condition because it could mean experiencing a significant driving or visibility problem,” said Dave Skaien, AAA Auto Club’s Approved Auto RepairProgram Manager.

To prepare your vehicle for the El Niño rains, AAA suggests you make sure your keeping up with basic maintenance: 

  • Check your windshield wipers. If your wipers are streaking or skipping, it’s time for a new set.
  • Check your tires. Bald or worn tires will slip more easily in wet weather. In wet conditions, AAA advises that tires should have at least 6/32nd of an inch tread depth at any two adjacent grooves. Also, make sure your tires are inflated to recommended pressure.
  • Check your car lights. Driving in the rain means reduced visibility. Check to see that all your exterior and interior lights work.
  • Check your brakes. Clear signs such as the brake light displaying on the car’s dashboard or feeling that your vehicle is taking longer to stop than necessary mean it’s time for the brakes to be checked, according to AAA.

Also, for tips on steering safely through a rainstorm, watch these Do’s and Dont’s that KTLA weatherman Kaj Goldberg learned on a test track.