• Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers are only good for about a year; normal wear, the sun’s UV rays and the elements take their toll on them. Get a good look and check them for chunks, strips or chips missing, and replace if necessary for a streak-free field of vision in wet weather. Hint: a fresh application of Rain-X on your windshield and window glass can help visibility greatly.
• Brakes: Are you hearing any squeaks, squeals or grinding noises when you apply the brakes? Are you noticing that the pedal goes farther to the floor before the brakes engage? It’s important to go into the winter months with a good set of brakes!
• Tires: Most manufacturers recommend a tire rotation every 5-7,000 miles to ensure even tire wear; it’s easy to just schedule a rotation with every oil change, since the vehicle’s already off the ground. Be sure to check your tread depth and overall condition of the tires, too.
• Coolant: If it’s been a couple of years since your coolant was changed, it’s time to have a flush performed again. Coolant will degrade and lose its effectiveness over time, as it starts to pick up corrosion and contaminants from the radiator and water pump; starting out the winter with fresh coolant and a clean system will help get your car ready for cold weather. After all, a healthy cooling system will also produce more robust heat through the car’s heater. While you’re at it, make sure that the serpentine belt, hoses and hose clamps are all in good shape as well.
• Trouble bag: You hope you won’t have any problems this winter, but it’s better to have the trouble bag and not need it than to need it and not have it. Consider including a flashlight, first aid kit, protein-rich snacks, a sweater, blanket and gloves, some cash in small bills and change, a charged-up cell phone, flares or reflective triangle, duct tape and a few rudimentary tools (or maybe a Leatherman-style multi-tool).
• Battery: Cold weather is really tough on a car’s battery. Motor oil thickens, making it harder to turn the engine over, and the chemical reaction that goes on inside the battery’s cells slows down in extreme cold. At 5 degrees F, a fully-charged battery can only deliver about half its capacity and cranking power. Have your electrical system checked for proper charging, and make sure the battery’s posts and cable clamps are in good shape and free of corrosion.
Winter conditions are hard on any vehicle, but if you’re prepared, your car will take good care of you all winter. Make an appointment with us and let us take care of your car’s winterization needs before the cold really sets in!