Winterizing your car or truck is a wise idea, says the Car Care Council. A great investment of a couple of hours to have your car checked is all it takes to obtain peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.
“The last thing any driver needs can be a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle check before the temperatures drop can be a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded outside in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.”
The Car Care Council recommends the following nine steps for winterizing your automobile.
Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
Clean, flush and put new antifreeze from the cooling system. This should be done every 2 yrs, as a general rule of thumb.
Ensure defrosters, wipers and heaters work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and employ cold temperatures washer fluid. Wiper blades must be replaced every six months, for the most part.
Check the tire tread tire and depth pressure. Consider special tires designed to grip slick roads if ice and snow are a problem in your area. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Living in a cold climate, consider changing to “winter weight” oil. Have your technician check the air, fuel and transmission filters at the same time.
If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems including pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
Have the brakes checked. The braking technique is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
Hold 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 headlights and work are properly aimed.
Watch the wintertime Car Care Minute video here!
Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full all the time to decrease the likelihood of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should look into the tire pressure of the spare in the stock and trunk a crisis kit having an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares and blanket extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.