The Fall is upon us, and Old Man Winter is sneaking up behind; ready to pounce! We have time tables for getting our homes ready for the dropping temperatures and ice, but all too often we forget to prepare our vehicles. Here are some easy things to consider to get your vehicle ready for the Ice and Snow.
First of all, going out in the winter in a poorly maintained vehicle is just asking for trouble. You think breaking down on the site of the road in comfortable 70 degree weather is bad; imagine when it is 5 degrees and road traffic is throwing salt and slush. Routine maintenance can help improve gas mileage, reduce pollution and catch minor problems before they become big headaches that could potentially leave you stranded.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. A poll of ASE Master Auto Technicians revealed that regular oil and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services, yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Check our coupons section for discounts and deals on our radiator flush services.
Have your battery checked. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Having a strong battery can assure your car will start in the lowest of temperatures.
Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
Replace old blades regularly. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you’ll be surprised how much you use during the winter months. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
**** ----------- DID YOU KNOW? ------------****
Complete Auto Maintenance Centers offers a FREE Windshield Washer Fluid Exchange.
Bring your car into any of our 5 locations and a Complete Auto Maintenance Centers team member will replace your windshield washer fluid with a winter mix that is less likely to freeze. The service is FREE.
Check your tires. Worn tires are dangerous in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month, letting the tires "cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget to check your spare, and be sure the jack is in good working condition. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels makes your engine work harder and thus use excess gasoline.
Inspect all lights and bulbs. Replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag. Clouded lenses can be refinished by many service outlets or by using a DIY kit found in major auto parts outlets.
Check your Transmission. The transmission is often neglected until a major failure. Routine checks and fluid changes at prescribed intervals can prevent very costly repairs down the line.
Fuel Deicer. As the temperature drops below freezing, add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming.
Always carry an emergency kit with you: extra gloves, boots and blankets; flares; a small shovel and sand or kitty litter; tire chains; a flashlight and extra batteries; and a cell phone and extra car charger. Put a few "high-energy” snacks in your glove box.
Winter conditions can be harsh on any vehicle, however; preparing your vehicle for winter will go a long way to assure it will not be harsh on your pocket book.