your vehicle prepared for winter?
that was showing weakness in the summer will in all likelihood fail in
the cold of winter. Although experiencing a breakdown in the summer can
be frustrating -
a breakdown in the winter can be dangerous and even
deadly depending on where and when your car breaks down. By checking out
the basic winter checklist below you'll help your car to make it through
another tough winter season.
Things to examine on your vehicle before the winter driving season
Windshield washer fluid made for temps below freezing: Fill up
your reservoir to the top and flush out the old fluid by running the wiper /
sprayer; especially if you have a rear wiper / washer that gets its fluid from a
long hose coming from the front reservoir.
Engine antifreeze / cooling system: Not only should it be
checked for its anti-freeze capability but you should also check your
owner's manual to see if it is scheduled for a total flush and replacement.
Don't attempt to economize here, there's too much at stake to not replace
the fluid on schedule.
Check your tires: The cold weather will cause your tires
to lose air pressure. Fill them to the recommended
air pressure and check the tread while you're there. Make sure to check your spare tire for correct air pressure
when you inspect your tires.
Check your lights: Check that the primary running lights, side
lights, brake lights, reverse lights, turn signals, high beams, and hazard
lights are functional. You'll need to see and be seen during the dark
Check the battery: If your battery isn't up to snuff or your
charging system is marginal, the cold winter months will likely cause them to
fail at the worst time. A mechanic can do simple tests to check both systems if
you're uncertain of their condition.
Winter windshield wiper blades:
These are essentially a wiper
blade with a rubber boot covering the flexible joints in the blade. Winter
slush and ice can clog the flexible joints of the wiper and leave portions
of the windshield untouched. Windshield wiper blades only take a minute to
replace so it's worth the time and investment.
Check your heater and defrosters: Before the truly frigid
weather takes hold, be sure to test the heater, windshield defroster and the
rear window defroster. Note: Check the main heater only after the car has
warmed up, most cars will let the engine warm up before allowing coolant /
anti-freeze into the heater core in your car interior.
Have your braking system checked: If your brakes are worn or
were pulling to one side in the summer you'll want to make sure they're in
peak condition for the snow and slush you're about to encounter this winter.
Check all you're fluid levels: Most modern car's fluid
reservoirs are clearly marked and the owner's manual will help you perform
these simple checks.
Check your serpentine belt and its tensioner: If you're
unsure of how to do this, there are sites on the net to help you out,
otherwise an auto-mechanic can do this simple test for you. By learning how
to do it yourself, it will become an important part of your under-hood
Things to keep in your automobile for winter driving:
Cell Phone, fully charged (preferably with Global Positioning System
First aid kit
Flash light and spare batteries
Common hand tools
Local road map
Calories, such as chocolate bars, nuts and dried fruit
Candles for us outside the car
Multitool type knife
Waterproof matches and candle and a tin can to melt snow for drinking water
Tire chains / traction mats
Local road map
Bottled drinking water