Winter Car Care

It is happening again. The changing of seasons and the anticipation of cooler weather and snow. Now is a good time to get your car checked out before the weather turns. Some of the things you should be looking at:

1. Check your tires. Tires that are worn out are hazard to you and your family. A good rule of thumb is to grab a quarter. Take that quarter with Washington’s head towards the tire and if you can see any area above his head it is time for new tires. New tires will not only help you accelerate better, but it will also improve your stopping distance for increased safety.

2. Consider winter tires. Most people think about winter tires as snow tires. While it is true that winter tires will improve your vehicles road handling in the snow, there is much more to a winter tire than just snow traction. As the temperature outside decreases the rubber in your summer tires loses its elasticity and its ability to grip the road. Winter tires are designed for colder temperatures to give you better grip during the cold months of the year.

3. Have your battery tested. Large changes in the temperature outside is hard on batteries. Have your battery checked before the cold sets in so you don’t get stranded at the most inopportune time (i.e. trying to go home from work late at night during a blizzard).

4. Have your anti-freeze checked. During the cold months you want to make sure that your vehicle is protected from freezing. Few things are worse than having your engine block freeze up. Perform a coolant flush if it is due. It will also have the added benefit of making your heater more efficient with fresh fluid and all of the contaminants flushed out of your radiator and heater core.

5. Check your spare and safety kit. Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated in case of emergencies. Check on the supplies in your emergency kit. If you don’t have one, get one as soon as possible. It should include items like basic first aid supplies, a flashlight, a warming blanket, and some packaged food. Many of your auto parts stores and warehouse clubs have these on sale already prepared for you.

6. Have your local auto mechanic inspect your car. A technician will not only look at the items above, but will also make you aware of any other items that need attention. This preventative check-up can identify issues to limit breakdowns and more expensive repairs down the road.

Happy driving and be safe.

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