For most of us, we only think about car Maintenance when something breaks or starts making a funny sound. Most of the time, these issues can be avoided by caring for your vehicle. The changing of the seasons put a unique stress on certain components that can cause your transportation to malfunction. The Summer and Winter seasons are especially hard on various systems. Luckily we have a small check list for the upcoming season. These are all simple and can help you stay on the road, away from the cold.
Drain and Replace
The first thing you should do is to drain and replace all cooling system fluids. In the Summer, your car does not need Antifreeze. In the Winter you do. This prevents the water in your radiator and engine from freezing. The freezing of water causes expansion, which can destroy hoses, the radiator, or even crack your engine block. Just replace all cooling fluids to according to your owner’s manual or have a professional do it for you.
Keep it Toasty
We all need the Heater system in the cold. Make sure your Heater is working before it gets cold. This includes all belts and pulley in the system. A professional may be required for this step. Also make sure your Defrost function is working. Ice can crack your windshield.
Ice Ice Baby
With the chance of ice being very high, traction becomes very important. How do you obtain traction? Your tires. A worn tire no longer has enough tread to effectively grab the road to prevent sliding. A new tire is much better at stopping on ice than a bald tire. While you are thinking about tires, check your chains if you have or use them. Sometimes even a new tire cannot compete with the chains.
The other thing to check is your Auto Insurance policy. The Snow and Ice from the winter can bring down trees and power lines. They can also cause drivers to lose control and slide into other cars. These can result in expensive repairs and down time. This is why you should be up to date with your Insurance Provider. Many offer special Winter clauses that can help keep repair cost down. Some even offer rental cars while your car is in the shop. Compare car insurance quote providers in your area.
Keep on your toes
The next step is what I call Conditional Awareness. This just means to pay attention to your environment and surroundings. Watch the weather and traffic updates before you head out. Stay under the speed limit when the temperature is freezing. Take a mental note of all bridges and river crossings in your area. These places, along with elevated roadways, have a tendency to be the first places to ice over. Be respectful of Old Man Winter.
One thing people take for granted in their Automobiles is the fuel. At its base, gasoline will not freeze under normal conditions. The moisture from condensation can build up in your tank and the fuel lines. This can cause your fuel to have water in it. Water makes your car run terribly or not at all. This can all be avoided with a little fuel additive called a deceiver that can be purchased from many stores. The other option is to just keep a full tank of gas.
The final thing is the most important. An Emergency Kit in case the worst happens. No one wants to be stranded on the roadside. This is especially true about the winter. The weather and hazardous driving conditions can result in you being stranded for a very long time in terrible conditions. To help reduce the tension of this unfortunate incident, be prepared. Pack an emergency kit. It should include a couple blankets, heavy if possible. An extra change of clothes is not a bad idea if you have the room. At least have a few pair of dry socks, trust me. Food items are also essential. Anything that is high in calories and can be stored is a good idea. I personally bring Peanut Butter, a few Granola Bars, some crackers, and a few potted meats. The last thing is a book or something similar to occupy your time. It can seem like forever waiting on a ride with nothing to do.
We hope this list helps you and your automobile survive this winter. Be safe and Pay Attention.