Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Days Survival – Tips to winterize you vehicle!

It’s that time of year again. Whether the cold temperatures are making your engine struggle or snow and ice are limiting your traction and visibility, the winter is here to wreak some havoc on your car.

But instead of dreading your commute the next few months, know that there are easy steps you can take to properly prepare your car for winter.

Service Your Vehicle
While there are steps you can take to winterize your vehicle on your own, some winterizing steps are best left to the professionals. Take your vehicle to your dealership or service station and let them do the following:
  1. Check your tires. Not only will your mechanic check the wear and tear of your tires, but they’ll also check the pressure. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop, and a properly inflated tire ensures the best possible contact between you and the road. If you are in need of new tires, your mechanic will be able to offer you the best options.
  2. Change the oil (correctly). Your car needs oil to run effectively, but the cold weather thickens the oil, making it harder to circulate through your engine. Your mechanic will not only ensure your engine gets an oil change, but they’ll use the right type of oil your car needs in the winter.
  3. Check belts and hoses. Cold temperatures weaken belts and hoses. Your mechanic will check for wear and tear and replace any that may be damaged.
  4. Service battery. During cold weather, your engine requires more current from the battery in order to start the engine. Have your mechanic run a load test to see if your battery needs to be replaced.
Do It Yourself
Along with having your car serviced by a professional, there are a few things you can do to winterize your vehicle on your own.
  1. Replace windshield wiper blades and refill wiper fluid. Having working blades and enough fluid will help ensure you have the best visibility.
  2. Check heater and defroster. Make sure both are working properly. This will help keep your warm and, along with blades and fluid, help your visibility.
  3. Check your spare. Make sure there is air in your spare tire and all proper tire-changing equipment is in the trunk.
  4. Stay fueled. Keep gas tank as full as possible to prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.
  5. Check 4WD. If you have four wheel drive, make sure your system is working properly.
Safety First
The number one step in winterizing your car is making sure you put safety first.

If your area gets a great deal of snow during the winter, you may want to invest in snow tires. Snow tires have different tread patterns than regular tires, designed to form a better grip on snow and ice. They are also made from a softer rubber that better retains flexibility in cold weather.

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