With frigid winter weather on the way for a large portion of the country, it pays to make sure your car is ready. The rigors of ice and snow can really take a toll on your vehicle. Here are some maintenance issues to handle before the first flakes fall.
A Tire Inspection
Your tires are what keeps you on the road in bad conditions, so you will want to check their condition and pressure before cold weather comes. You can insert a penny into the tread and see how much remains—make sure it goes in as deep as Lincoln’s head. The pressure can be checked at any gas station with an air machine, and you can add air at the same time, if needed. Should you live in an area that experiences a lot of snow, you may also want to consider getting a set of snow tires for more traction.
Change the Oil
Colder weather causes oil to get thick, so you will need to change out the summer-weight oil for something thinner. Your operator’s manual can advise you as to the proper type and weight to use in colder weather.
Wax the Entire Vehicle
Salt and other compounds used to treat the roads are corrosive, and sand and ash used for traction can create scratches in the paint. By carefully waxing the entire vehicle, you are applying a barrier that will seal and protect the paint and any exposed metal. This will help avoid scratches and rust.
Check or Change Your Antifreeze
Your antifreeze does exactly that in cold weather, but sometimes people top off the reservoir with water in the summer. The mix is supposed to be an even 50/50 split between antifreeze and water. Any additional water in the system can lead to freezing, which will damage your engine and rack up an enormous repair bill.
Check All Belts and Hoses
The rubber used in belts and hoses can become brittle in cold weather, so make sure they are in good condition. Also check the clamps for any sign of corrosion.
Taking the time to prepare your vehicle for winter will make for a safer driving experience and a worry-free holiday season. As always, consult your mechanic if anything doesn’t look right on your car or it isn’t operating properly.