As you start to prepare for the winter season, remember that your vehicle should also be prepared for the harsh weather conditions.
Every good mechanic and garage shop, as well as AAA, will advise you that now is the time to get your vehicle winter-ready. While many people tend to put off the car maintenance, the fact is that it will be well worth it spending the time and money now, before small problems turn into big issues that will cost you much more – and not just financially.
Ensuring proper functionality and safety of your vehicle is paramount – so we put together some tips to help prepare your car, SUV, or truck for winter:
- Check Car Battery
Your car gets its energy from the battery; however, under freezing conditions, the battery may not work as effectively, so do have your battery and charging system checked to ensure it’s good to go when the winter weather kicks in.
Cold weather is especially harmful for your battery, which can deteriorate very quickly in a harsh climate. Since your vehicle works extra hard during winter, it’s easier for the car battery to drain, and according to AAA, dead batteries account for almost one in four winter service calls.
Also, if your battery is three or more years old, and/or it sometimes takes a few seconds to start your engine, you need to get it inspected and, if needed, replaced.
- Check Tires
Driving in harsh winter conditions is hard on your vehicle’s tires, so it’s important to inspect, rotate and align them to ensure safer wearing.
Check pressure of your tires and make sure they’re properly inflated. For every 10-degree temperature drop, tire air pressure decreases 1-2 psi, and under-inflated tires can be dangerous and may suffer damage. Also, beware that overly wide tires tend to float on top of the snow, which reduces grip.
Finally, check the condition of your tires, monitor tire tread and make sure none are balding.
- Check Brakes
Before driving in the winter weather, make sure your vehicle’s brakes are safe and sound and that they apply smoothly to help prevent the wheels from locking on slick surfaces.
Also, if the ‘check brake’ lamp is illuminated, or braking is noisy or rough, it’s likely you need to have brake pads replaced.
When in doubt, seek a professional opinion – you don’t want to mess with faulty or worn out brake.
- Check Vehicle’s Fluids
Make sure all of your vehicle’s fluids are topped off and filled:
Windshield wiper fluid – you need it to increase visibility during the rain and snow season. Fill washer reservoir with a winter solvent to prevent freezing.
Engine oil – it protects the engine against wear and tear, so keeping it full will allow the engine and its working parts to function properly. Make sure it’s been replaced recently.
Brake fluid – it transfers the pressure from your foot on the pedal to the wheels. If your brakes do not have sufficient fluid, it will take more time and effort to stop your car.
Make sure the engine coolant provides anti-freeze protection in the lowest temperatures you are likely to encounter, usually -30 degrees F.
Gas tank – always keep it at least half full to minimize condensation buildup, which can lead to gas line freeze-up. If the fuel you use does not already contain alcohol, use a gas line “dryer” additive periodically to absorb moisture.
- Check Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers suffer during winter, so it’s best to change them before the severe weather conditions. New windshield wipers will improve visibility and reduce the risk of an accident.
- Winter Driving Kit
Carry a winter driving kit cases of an emergency, containing: a small bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter), a small snow shovel, a snow brush, traction mats, a flashlight with new batteries, basic car repair tools, window washer solvent, an ice scraper, a cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, a blanket, warning devices (flares or triangles), snacks, drinking water and extra clothes.
Also, always carry a cell phone and car charger; save the important numbers including a reliable roadside service provider that you have signed up with in advance.
It’s time to get your car ready for winter – perform a safety check on your own, or bring your vehicle to our caring garage shop. Our expert mechanics at CNM Auto Repair are passionate about assisting our clients, and we’ll ensure your car or truck is performing optimally for years to come.
For all of your Lancaster PA auto care, contact our family owned and operated auto repair shop today – make an appointment today at (717) 397-1497.