The last thing any driver needs is to break down in cold, harsh winter weather. A vehicle check now before winter arrives is a sensible way to be car care aware and avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.
Winterizing your vehicle before the temperatures drop is a wise idea an investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of car trouble during severe weather.
Nolan Motors recommends the following steps for winterizing your vehicle:
• If you're due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
• Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
• Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
• Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
• Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
• Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
• Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
• Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
• Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
Motorists should also keep the fuel tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water.