Winter Prep: Preparing Your Car to Handle the Cold
Basic car maintenance doesn’t change that much with the seasons. You’ll need to have your oil changed whether it’s winter or summer. You’ll need the right tire pressure all year long. However, there are some specific things you need to do when the cold weather starts to roll in. Not doing so can leave you stranded in the cold (which can be incredibly dangerous during the winter months). Not sure what you need to do in terms of winter prep? Don’t worry – it’s not that complicated.
First and foremost, make sure that your car is receiving regular service. This includes oil changes, tire rotation and balancing, as well as a chassis lube and a full vehicle inspection. By keeping up with regular maintenance, you help avoid potential breakdowns and other problems.
Now, let’s touch on some specific wintertime preparation steps you need to take.
Charging System: While batteries can die at any time of year, the onset of cold weather is the most common time for your battery to give up the ghost. You don’t have to be surprised, though. Have a full charging system test performed before things get too icy. This will test your battery, but it will also test your alternator and starter, helping to ensure that you’re not stranded. If you have the test performed by a licensed mechanic, you can have any failed (or failing) components replaced then, which saves you time and hassle in the long run.
Windshield Wipers: Your wipers are important throughout the year, but winter presents special circumstances. Ice, snow and salt can quickly degrade your wipers, leaving you in danger on the roads. Have your wipers replaced at the beginning of winter. Consider purchasing winter-specific wiper blades designed to stand up to the harsh cold and extreme environment.
Tires: If you have snow tires, the time to install them is once the temperature drops to the point where snow/ice is possible. If you don’t have snow tires, then you should seriously consider them. We can make you recommendations! A good set of All-Season tires will do as well. Be sure to have your mechanic check the tread.
Coolant: Don’t let the name fool you. Engine coolant does more than ensure your engine doesn’t overheat during the warmer months. It’s also designed to prevent your radiator and hoses from freezing during the winter. Have your coolant checked for performance. If it has been a few years since you had a coolant service, go ahead and have the system drained and refilled by a licensed technician. This ensures that you have maximum protection against the cold.
Lights: Have all the lights on your car checked for operation. It’s essential that you stay safe on the road, and your headlights, brake lights and tail lamps are critical to that (as well as to the safety of other drivers). Check your high beams, low beams, turn signals, brake lights, high-mount brake light and tail lamps. (P.S. We do this when you come in for an oil change with us!)
Brakes: Have your brake pads and rotors inspected. If the pads are low, have them replaced and your rotors turned. If the brake fluid is dark, now’s the time to have the system flushed and new fluid added. Winter is no time to take chances. Make sure that you’re having your vehicle properly maintained by a licensed technician. A winter car maintenance program can handle all
of the areas listed above and many others, keeping you safe and sound throughout the