Don’t wait for snow
Winter brings out the worst in cars. If there is anything amiss in your car, you can bet it will become a big problem in the dead of winter. The last thing you want is to have a breakdown in the middle of no where during extreme weather. Make it a priority this month to winterize your car.
Use this checklist to help you get your car ready for winter:
Anti-freeze: This is probably the most important thing to check. Make sure that you have the correct antifreeze/water ratio for the coldest temperatures in your area. A tester is fairly inexpensive and is the best way to be sure your fluids will not freeze this winter.
Battery: A car’s battery capacity is reduced by the cold
weather. Make sure it starts the season out in good condition. Check battery cables for cracks and replace any that show signs of cracks or breaks. The terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. Clean residue off of the terminals to ensure secure contact and check the fluid level. If the level is below the bottom of the cap, refill with distilled water. Recharge the battery. Look for the manufacture date on the battery. An older battery is more likely to lose it charge in cold weather.
Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution. Winter washer fluid has antifreeze components in it to prevent it from freezing.
Brakes: If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a qualified mechanic to ensure all components are in good working order.
Oil: Some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner, winter-weight oil during the coldest months. Check your car owner’s manual to make sure you have the right oil for winter.
Before each trip
Follow these safety guideline each time you get in the car:
- Remove all the snow and ice from the windshields, windows, tops, and sides of your vehicle before you start for your destination. Yes, all of it! This is for your safety as well as that of others on the road. You need to have clear vision in all directions. And you don’t want chunks of ice and snow from your car falling off and hitting other cars.
- Keep your gas tank full. Fill up often! This is good advice all year round, but it’s especially important in the winter. A full tank can help prevent gas line from freezing. It also reduces the risk of condensation in the tank. In the winter that condensation can freeze and clog fuel lines. And if you are ever stranded, you’ll be glad to have a car that keeps you warm until help arrives.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave. If you should run into problems, you want to be able to make and receive calls.
- Watch the weather. Be aware of any severe weather conditions predicted for your area and plan accordingly.
- Carry a winter kit in your car.
- Watch out for other drivers. Yes, you may be a skilled winter driver, but lots of people are not. So give other drivers plenty of room. Allow more stopping distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Give yourself enough time to safely get to where you need to go.
Take care of your car and it will take care of you