The winter season can be hard for cars, which is why it’s important to inspect your vehicle on a regular basis. This can help keep your vehicle operating efficiently and at top condition. Make sure to check the tire pressure at least once a month. If the temperatures drop below freezing, make sure to check the tires more often. An under-inflated tire underperforms and has an increased chance of blowing out when you drive. Tire pressure is measured by pounds per square inch (PSI). If uncertain about what level of PSI your tire should be, the proper inflation level can typically be found inside the driver’s door jam. If the air leaking out of your tire becomes consistent, make sure schedule an appointment so we can inspect the tires for you. Battery capacity decreases significantly in cold weather. It is just harder on the cells and it causes the battery to lose capacity. Parking a car in a garage, out of the freezing cold, is another way to protect the battery. The battery is needed in order to start your vehicle. If you notice an issue when you start your vehicle, make sure to contact us so we can inspect and test the battery for you. Look for cracks in windshields and make sure wiper blades are in working order. If you have cracks or chips on the windshield, they are likely to worsen in extreme cold temperatures. It is recommended to make sure to replace wiper blades to ensure they can handle the various elements and keep the windshield clear. The visibility is important when you drive, so it is important to have an issue fixed with the windshield or wipers as soon as possible.
The easiest way to care for your tires is to check the air pressure regularly. All you need to do is have a gauge and take a read out of the psi in each tire. This should be done on a regular basis, especially in the winter. If the tires lose air on a regular basis, make sure to check them at least once a week. The air temperature will affect what the air pressure is inside of the tire. Cold air will shrink particles and make them smaller, as if the tire is under inflated and needing air. To fix the problem, you need access to an air compressor. Simply add air to the tire until it reads out at the correct pressure for your make and model of tire. When you do not have an air compressor in the garage, you can bring the vehicle in and we can fill the tires for you. It only takes a few minutes to replace the air in the tire, but it can add hundreds of miles of life to your tires. The tires also need to be rotated at regular intervals. The tires wear in a certain pattern as the vehicle goes down the road. In order to make the tires even all the way across the tread, they need to be moved to the back of the car and to the opposite side. The tires in the back need to be moved up to the front and switched sides as well. The tires also need to be kept in balance in order to be even. Traveling over bumpy roads can knock a tire out of balance. Driving with a slight pull to the right or the left could indicate the vehicle should be brought in. Aligning your tires is done on a machine in our shop where they are measured. Tires are marked with positive or negative degrees and need to be as close together as possible to be aligned. If you notice any issues with the tires, like bulges or damage, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. By doing so, you can help to ensure the tires are in the best condition possible and your vehicle will be reliable this winter.
Winters can bring harsh and ever-changing weather conditions. Driving hazards such as limited visibility, black ice, avalanche-prone areas and snow removal equipment are just some that may be encountered on winter roads. Only travel in winter weather when necessary, leave enough time to safely reach your destination and plan your route to avoid snowy and icy areas and steep hills. Remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates. Make sure you turn on headlights to see and be seen, and that you turn off cruise control. Try to avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually. When driving in the winter, one of the best things you can do is to reduce the speed you are driving. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions. Do not slam on brakes. Apply steady pressure on ABS-equipped vehicles and pump the brakes if necessary on non-ABS vehicles. Keep additional distance from other vehicles. Typically this should be three seconds or three car lengths. When the weather or road conditions are less than ideal, this should be increased. Also be aware of the potential of black ice. As the temperatures warm up, or the sun melts some of the snow, it can then refreeze into the form of black ice. This is dangerous because you typically do not know it is there, until you are driving over it. Also remember to keep your fuel tank at least half full. This helps to ensure you have enough fuel to reach your destination. It is also recommended in order to prevent the fuel lines from freezing up. If you are in an accident or stranded, you will want as much fuel as possible so you can keep running your vehicle to stay warm.
The radiator in your vehicle actively dissipates heat that builds up in the cooling system. As coolant runs through the radiator, the walls of the internal passageways start to develop a thick layer of scale. Debris running through the cooling system may also cause a blockage to develop in those tight radiator tubes. When this happens, the radiator’s cooling abilities drastically decrease. When one component fails to work properly, other parts throughout the cooling system also run the risk of failure. The three parts that commonly cease working after the radiator goes bad are the thermostat, water pump, and heater core. Each engine size and configuration has a specific ideal operating temperature. To control the temperature, the thermostat sits at the end of the bottom radiator hose and directly regulates the flow of water through the cooling system. When the engine reaches ideal operating temperature, the thermostat opens and allows the cooling system to flow freely. When the radiator stops working correctly, too much pressure is put on the thermostat, often causing it to stop working. When the thermostat fails, the valve inside gets stuck either open or closed. With a closed thermostat, your engine will immediately start to overheat. You can tell the thermostat is stuck closed by carefully touching the radiator hoses. The top one will feel hot, yet the bottom hose will remain cold. When the thermostat sticks open, the engine will never reach operating temperature, which negatively impacts gas mileage. The water pump uses an impeller to continuously move coolant through the hoses and passageways of the cooling system. On most engines, the impeller is actually made from plastic materials. Any contaminants or tough debris breaking away from the radiator will cause abrasions and other damage to that part. If the radiator stops cooling the fluid before it moves past the impeller, the high temperatures could also cause damage to the plastic parts. Make sure you notice if your vehicle starts to run hotter than normal, or your vehicle is overheating. By making an appointment, we can inspect the vehicle for you.