Preparing Your Car for Winter
No one every wants to be stranded out on the road with a broken down car, especially in winter when the temperatures are frigid and conditions can be less than friendly. Taking the time now to have your mechanic perform proper preventive maintenance on your vehicle can help avoid emergencies and give you peace of mind during winter driving. Make sure that these systems are checked before you head out on the road.
Colder weather puts more stress on your battery so make sure to have it checked with professional equipment, especially if it is nearing the end of its usable life. Batteries don’t always give warnings that they are about to fail, so it’s important to have this done periodically. Between checkups, you can make sure that connections stay clean, tight and corrosion–free. If battery caps are removable, check fluid monthly.
Changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals is especially important in colder weather as dirty oil can cause trouble. Also consider using winter weight oil to make your vehicle run better. At the same time as the oil change, have your mechanic check fuel, air and transmission filters.
Worn tires are especially dangerous in winter. Check for uneven wear, cupping and tread depth. If it’s getting close to replacement time, think about doing so now. If you drive frequently in icy and snowy conditions, winter tires will provide better traction than all-season tires. Check inflation weekly during cold weather to ensure that tires have enough pressure.
Wipers, Heater and Defroster
Check to make sure that all are working properly. If blades are streaking your windshield or are otherwise worn, replace them. Stock up on wiper fluid.
Clean, flush and put new antifreeze into your car. Rule of thumb here is to do this task every two years.
As temperatures drop below freezing, think about adding a bottle of fuel deicer to your tank to prevent moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping your gas tank approximately half full will also help.
This is the most important safety item on your vehicle. Make sure brakes are working properly by having them checked periodically.
This task isn’t one that is thought of frequently, but it becomes more important as your car ages. Check for exhaust system leaks as carbon monoxide buildup in the cabin of your car is more deadly in winter when the windows are closed.