It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors and the weather is cooling down. While you’re no doubt happy to see the heat of summer on the way out, cool weather presents some serious challenges for your automobile. You need to make sure that your car is prepared to handle the onset of cold weather so you are able to stay safe and sound on the road this winter.
1. Start Now
You might think that cool weather maintenance doesn’t need to be done until the onset of winter. However, fall is actually the perfect time to get a jump on things. Waiting until the weather goes from cool to cold can be a recipe for disaster, so don’t wait. Do it now.
One of the first things you’ll need to check is your vehicle’s antifreeze. During the summer, your engine coolant keeps the engine within the normal operating temperature range. During cold weather, it does the same job, but it also keeps the coolant from freezing. Regular water (or weak antifreeze/water mixes) will freeze with low temperatures, creating serious problems for drivers. Blown radiator hoses are only the mildest threat here. Make sure you check your antifreeze level, as well as its freeze protection. If it’s been several years since it was changed, consider doing a full drain and fill.
3. Gauge Your Tires
While summertime brings thunderstorms and heavy rains that you’ll have to drive through, cold weather brings ice and snow. You’ll want to make sure that your tires are able to handle those threats. Check the tread on your tires (you can pick up a tire gauge at pretty much any auto parts store). If the tread is low, consider replacing your tires now, before they have to face the prospect of winter driving conditions. You might also consider looking into studded snow tires now if you live in an area where heavy snowfall is an issue.
4. Look at the Battery
Cold weather kills batteries. Heat during the summertime can definitely take its toll here, but the onset of winter sees the highest number of dead batteries. Don’t become a statistic – make sure that your car’s battery is fresh and up to the challenge. You should have a full charging system test performed as well to make sure your starter and alternator are in good shape.
5. Check the Wipers
We tend not to think about our windshield wipers until they’re needed, but that can be too late, especially during the colder months of the year. Make sure you have new wiper blades installed before the temperatures drop too low. You might even consider purchasing blades made especially for wintry conditions.
You’ve been running your AC all summer, but now it’s time to crank up the heater. Make sure your heater works well before cold weather arrives. A heater that doesn’t do its job could be suffering from any number of problems, from a faulty heater core to a dying thermostat – all easy enough to rectify if caught in time, but real hassles if you let them wait.
7. Winter Prep Is Important
While it the cool, comfortable days might be a nice change from the heat of summer, don’t let yourself be fooled. Cold weather can arrive with no warning, and being caught unprepared is a bad thing. Make sure you have your vehicle prepped for the arrival of winter – if you are unsure exactly what to check, use a reputable mechanic and have them conduct a full inspection for any issues pertaining to winterizing your vehicle.
* About the author: Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of an automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on logo, carpeted, molded and all weather floor mats. He has previously written a guest article for our website, which you can find HERE.
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7 Useful Tips to Prepare Your Car for Cooler Weather
Saturday, December 01, 2012 car , don elfrink , mbbguestpost , preparation , seven , tips , winter Edit