You ask a lot of your car in the winter, and by the time January and February roll around, there’s a good chance your vehicle needs some TLC. There are tips that will get you road ready and help ensure your car is not only running well, but protected. As an example, keeping your windshield wipers down instead of lifting them will make them last longer.
Beyond keeping the car in fully operational condition, what about coverage? Do you have the best and most cost-effective policy possible? Research car insurance quotesto be sure you aren’t paying too much and that your winter coverage is sound.
Read on to explore more areas of the car that require attention as we venture into the winter.
Tires. By the middle of winter, it’s likely you’ve trekked over a lot of ice and snow. Taking a few minutes to give your tires the once over can save you a lot of grief down the road. Grab yourself an inexpensive tire pressure gauge and make sure all of the tires are still properly inflated. The cold causes tires to lose pressure, so this is something you should be doing on a regular basis. Now check the tread and if your tires are looking bald, it’s time for a replacement.
Battery. You’re not going to get very far if your battery isn’t holding the right voltage. You’ll want to make certain that it has enough to get you through the remainder of the winter months. Getting stuck in subzero temperatures is nobody’s idea of a picnic. Perform a volt test or if you’re not comfortable checking it on your own, take it to a trusted mechanic so they can.
Lights. During the darker days of winter, you’ll be using your lights a lot more often. Make sure that all of your lights are functioning properly and that they aren’t dull, pointing down, up or to the side, and aren’t blown out. If they are yellow looking or foggy, replace them. Always clear away snow and ice from your exterior lights before heading out onto the road.
Keep a Full Tank of Gas. When temperatures get below the freezing point, the condensation inside the fuel pump can freeze if your gas tank isn’t half full or more. Plus, if you have the unfortunate opportunity to be stuck or stranded, you’ll need the gas to run the car and provide you with heat.
Windshield Wipers. Being made of rubber, windshield wiper blades are quite fragile and are prone to tearing and damage. Since windshield wipers last about a year, it could be very possible it’s been a solid 12 months since they have been replaced. Take note of the quality of the wipe they provide, is it smearing or smudging? While it could be something that is stuck on the blade itself, it might also be time for a replacement.
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Washer Fluid. Every winter driver knows how unfortunate it is to run out of windshield washer fluid in the middle of a snow squall. If it’s bad enough, you could find yourself hanging your head out the window because visibility out of the windshield is zero. Salt, sand, and snow can make it difficult to nearly impossible for you to drive safely. Always keep the reservoir at the appropriate level, with a gallon of extra fluid in your car just in case.
Climate Controls. Along the same lines as the windshield washer fluid, if your defroster and climate controls are not working properly, you’ll be stuck with a fogged up windshield and windows. You may also not be able to warm yourself and the car if these controls aren’t in good condition. If you haven’t had the opportunity to use them in a while, check them out to make sure they are working before you head out on your next trip.
Engine Oil. When the air turns cold, motor oil thickens. This makes it more difficult for the engine to turn over. Make sure you are using oil with a “W” which indicates that it is a winter formula. Examples of this are 10W-30, 5W-20, etc. Check your owner’s manual to see what your car uses. It might be time for an oil change so replace the oil filter at this time as well, so you can be sure that the flow is maximized.
You might be getting tired of winter and you can rest assured that your vehicle is, too! Now is the time to go through the checklist and make sure that all of these essential car elements are working properly. The more effort you put into the maintenance of your car the less you will have to worry about a breakdown and costly car repairs.
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