The winter months can present many challenges for you and your vehicle. While modern vehicles are designed to handle inclement weather conditions, there are some basic steps every driver should take as the days get shorter and the temperature drops.
Replace or Refill All Fluids
The best way to winterize your car is to start by checking your fluid levels. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the fluid levels for you.
- Coolant—It is especially important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information on this mixture. Make sure the fluid is filled to the maximum line.
- Oil—Make sure to have the oil changed on a regular basis. This will help keep the parts operating efficiently with one another.
- Wiper fluid—Often overlooked, you will need freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and your vision clear.
Inspect or Replace Your Tires
Low air pressure and worn tires are especially dangerous on wet or slick roads, as both can reduce traction. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended pressure. If you have never checked tire pressure yourself, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can check the pressure and properly inflate the tires if they need it.
Cold Weather & Battery Capacity
The battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather, too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter. Check over the battery cables for cracks and breaks. The terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. To read the level of charge in your battery, you will need to turn the engine off. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that tells you the amount of voltage remaining in the battery. If you prefer, a handheld hydrometer can be used to collect the same information. While you are inspecting your battery, look around for the manufacture date. Knowing how old your battery is can clue you in to when it will begin to lose charge.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Keeping a safety kit in your car all year is a good idea. Things like road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, and a first aid kit should be at hand no matter what. Items to include in your winter safety kit can include a flashlight, blanket, leather gloves, a bag of kitty litter or sand incase you get stuck in slush, ice scraper, a small shovel, and non perishable snacks.
Prevent Frozen Doors
Door locks can freeze in cold weather and break your key if you try to force them open. You can purchase glycerine that you can use for de-icing. Think about where you keep it, however, because if the de-icer is in the glove box of your frozen-shut car, then it will not help you out. You can also place a tube at home in the garage and also in your desk at work. That way whenever your locks freeze up, you will be able to get into your vehicle.