Winter is just around the corner and before the cold temperatures hit our towns, let’s check if our cars are ready for the change. We are all aware that neglecting seasonal maintenance, can cause a lot of unpredictable situations with our vehicles, and this is never more true than when it comes to winter check-up of a vehicle. Just to list a very few (scary!) examples of what can go wrong when you don’t get your car ready for the upcoming season: sudden breakdowns, tires blowout or car’s failure to react properly to weather conditions (overheating, etc.). These surprises usually come with significant expenses, hours spent on waiting for road assistance, changing around your personal schedule due to car repairs and many, many more.
To free yourself from the unplanned ado and hugger-mugger, all you need to do is just go through a simple check-up list and make sure that your car is ready for rides on the winter streets.
Tires — Air pressure, tread wear, spare
The best way to avoid a flat tire, or an even more frightening experience, a blowout, is to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month—and don’t forget to check your spare. A tire doesn’t have to be punctured to lose air. All tires naturally lose some air over time. In fact, under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure. For more information on tire safety and pressure, visit the “Tires” section of www.safercar.gov, a vehicle safety resource of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is a must to start an engine in cold weather.
Belts and Hoses — Condition and fittings
Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. Low winter temperatures are hard on plastics and rubber belts and hoses, so it’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear. While you’re at it, check all hose connections to make sure they’re secure.
Wiper Blades — Wear and tear on both sides
After the heavy toll imposed by winter storms, windshield wipers are likely to be ragged from use and ready to be replaced. Examine your blades for signs of wear and tear. If they aren’t in tip-top condition, invest in new ones before you go.
Fluid Levels — Oil, brake, transmission, power steering, coolant, and windshield washer fluids
Obviously, you’ll want to check your vehicle’s oil level. And as with coolant, if it’s time or even nearly time to have the oil changed, now would be a good time to do it. In addition, check the following fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.
Lights — Headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights, and trailer lights See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights.
Also, winter travelers, if you are planning a big adventure this season, there are a couple of more things in your trunk can become incredibly useful:
– Pair of warm gloves
– Snow shovel
– Ice scraper
– Window washer solvent
– Flashlights with extra batteries