Winter is Coming!
Is your car ready?
Like it or not, ‘Old Man
Winter’ will be messing up
our roads sooner than we
think! Are you ready? Is
your vehicle ready?
Below is a list of things to
consider and check on your
vehicle before the worst of
winter arrives. As always,
let me know how I can help
Before you do anything else, read your owner’s manual and follow
the manufacturers recommended service schedules.
Get engine performance and drivability problems — hard starts,
rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc. — corrected as soon as
possible. Cold weather makes existing problems worse.
Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running
engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual — more
often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short
trips. A poll of ASE Master Auto Technicians revealed that regular oil
and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services,
yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as
recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant
should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is
usually recommended. The tightness and condition of drive belts,
clamps, and hoses also should be checked regularly by a professional
Replace old wiper blades regularly. Stock up on windshield
washer solvent — you’ll be surprised how much you use during the
winter months. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
Have your battery checked. The only accurate way to detect a weak
battery is with professional equipment. Be sure to avoid contact with
corrosive deposits and battery acid.
Worn tires are dangerous in all weather but especially in winter!
Have your tires examined for remaining tread life, uneven wearing,
and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire
pressure once a month, letting the tires “cool down” before checking
the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget to check your
spare, and be sure the jack is in good working condition. Under-
inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels will wear your tires much faster
and makes your engine work harder thus using more gasoline.
Have your brakes checked periodically for safety and to prevent
costly repairs that can be caused by neglect.
The transmission is often neglected until a major failure. Routine
checks and fluid changes at prescribed intervals can prevent very
costly repairs down the line.
Always carry an emergency kit with you: extra gloves, boots and
blankets; flares; a small shovel and sand or kitty litter; tire chains; a
flashlight and extra batteries; and a cell phone and extra car charger.
Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box.
Dave Immel Automotive Consultant