Don’t breakdown in the dead of winter
Winter Proof your car by JYNorflet
For those of us who live in the north eastern part of the United States, who knows more than us the harshness of winter. From getting out of bed on those below zero days, to sitting on your freezing cold leather car seats. They didn’t feel this way in the summer when I bought the car. We also know first hand what winter does to our cars each year. Well, if you’re a transplant from a warmer climate, or if you just wait until the last minute each year this check list is for you. There is almost no worst feeling in the world than leaving work, getting into your car, turning the key to complete silence !! Well, things can be different this year. If you take this list seriously, and take action, chances are that you’ll have a nice reliable and routine winter car experience. So, don’t forget, read this list and act on it. Just because you have a new car doesn’t exempt you from your winter checklist duty, New cars break all the time, so go through the same routine.
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Check your Anti-freeze
Anti-freeze not only keeps your engine from freezing once the temperature drops below freezing, it also carries heat to your car or trucks interior. Anti-freeze also assures your cooling system does not rust. To check the level, make sure you car has completely cooled to the touch, locate the coolant bottle & its “To here when cold” line on the plastic bottle. It below the line add enough Anti-freeze until it comes to the proper line. Refer to you manual if needed. Look to see how often you should change your anti-freeze.
Check your Battery
Next to your engine, your battery is the heart of your car. It supplies power to start the vehicle, keeps the lights, air conditioning and power accessories going. Hot summers and rough roads kill batteries. Have your battery checked under a load by your mechanic, a pepboys, sears or walmart auto center or other car care professional, before winter sets in. If you wait and your battery dies when you are out of town, you will not be happy, especially since I’m telling you here to do so.
Feel your heat
Check the actual heat coming from your heat vents inside the car. Start your car, wait for the temperature to rise to its normal temperature (5-10 minutes) on a 60-70 degree day. Turn your heat to full and turn you fan on. Make sure the vent controls are set for the dash vents, and place your hand in front of the vents, the air blowing out should be very hot, if not take your car to your mechanic to have them check the cooling system. Change the heat from the dash to the windshield by moving your air controls to windshield, or defogger. The heat from these vents should be nice and toastie also. During these tests, make certain the vehicles air conditioning is not on.
Check your coolant bottle
Check the level of coolant in the coolant bottle. Of course make certain the vehicle has cooled completely before examining the cooling system, it can be dangerous, even deadly. Always listen to your owners manual as well as common sense when working on your own vehicle. If something doesn’t seem right, it probable isn’t. So never remove the coolant bottle top when the engine is hot. When not, make certain the top is tight.If your dash light ever indicates “LOW COOLANT” this is where it would be added, NEVER add more than the full line on the bottle.
Check Tire Tread
You and your families life rides on your tires.How you accelerate, how well you brake, ultimately depends on your cars tires. If your tires are bald you are jeopardizing your well being. There is a cheap and easy way to tell that your tires are dangerously low on tread. Use a penny, stick it between the rubber treads of the tire. If you can see all of Lincolns head, you should replace your tires immediately. For acceleration, your fron t tires are the most important. For breaking and staying on the road, say on a turn, all tires should match, have excellent rubber tread and should hold air at a constant pressure
Test your air pressure
Air pressure in your tires is very important. The weight of the entire vehicle rides on your tires. If there is to low pressure, the tire will wear prematurely. The could also overheat if you have a full load of passengers and driving on the highway/freeway. If the tires are over inflated, the middle of your tire will begin to wear prematurely. There will also not be enough of a contact patch on the ground, reducing traction. So check your air pressure, with a gauge at least every 2 weeks, and check them when they are cold, or before you drive on them in order to get an accurate reading.
Inspect your Wiper Blades
Visibility is the a major key to safe driving. During rain as well as snow you depend heavily on your wiper blades. I believe most of us take wiper blades for granted and forget about them until they literally almost fall of of the windshield. Wiper blades are subjected to a constant beating believe it or not. They take a beating from the constant wind, the accidental turn ons when dry, the ultraviolet light from the sun, and last but not least, using them as scrapers when frost or ice builds up on the windshield. It is important to use Snow Blades if you live in a cold climate. Snow blades are actually covered entirely with rubber, which keeps the melted snow from your cars windshield from freezing on the naked metal of a regular blade. So inspect and change those blades twice a year if regular, and once a year if snow blades.