Used Car Maintenance Tip
Recently buy a used car? Had your vehicle for a while?
Either way winter can be brutal on cars, which is why it’s vital that drivers properly prepare before conditions turn. Whether you’re driving on the highway or just warming the car up in the driveway, problems can arise in a variety of ways during the winter. Ensure your vehicle makes it through the winter by following these 6 Steps for Preparing Your Car for Winter!
Battery capacity decreases significantly in cold weather, so it’s important to have a mechanic or use a battery tester to ensure it’s at peak performance.
Parking a car in a garage, out of the freezing cold, is another way to protect the battery. Having jumper cables handy is also important, not only if your car breaks down, but also in case you come across another motorist in need of a jump start.
2. Check Tire Pressure & Tread
Good tires are the key to staying on the road and keeping you safe when the weather is questionable and snow and ice are covering the roads. You can do your part to ensure your tires are in good shape with just a few simple steps.
First, check your tire pressure with a simple gauge sold at any auto supply store. Follow your manual’s recommendations for pressure level, and if your tires need air, fill them up. Second, use the “Lincoln test” to make sure your tires have the appropriate amount of tread. Just insert a penny into your tire’s tread with the top of Lincoln’s head pointing inward toward the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace the tire.
3. Inspect Headlights & Brake Lights
It’s vital to have fully functioning headlights and brake lights when dealing with thick winter fog or heavy snow. It helps your own visibility while driving, but also make sure other drivers are able to see you. Plastic headlight lens repair kits can also be found at various retailers if your headlight covers have a haze on them or are looking discolored.
- Coolant—It’s important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information on this mixture. Pick up a tester at an auto parts store and make sure the fluid is filled to the maximum line.
- Oil—Some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner oil if you live where temperatures drop below freezing. Your best bet is to consult your owner’s manual or talk to your mechanic.
5. Use Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid
Not all windshield wiper fluid is the same. Ordinary fluid that you use in the spring, summer and fall often becomes worse than useless in the winter, as it freezes quickly upon contact with your windshield.
When winter comes, switch out your fluid for “winter” fluid. Winter fluid is designed for the challenges of winter weather and won’t freeze on your windshield. In fact, it actually helps loosen ice and snow from your windshield, making it much easier to keep things clear.
This is the single most important thing you can do for your car and for your personal safety. Having a box full of winter supplies in your trunk can make all the difference if something goes wrong while driving on a cold winter day.
Here’s a quick list of items you should include in that box: a flashlight, road flares, a first-aid kit, a few blankets, a change of warm clothes for the driver, a few extra pairs of gloves, a radio, and an extra ice scraper.