America’s Trusted Mechanic and CARCHEX spokesperson Pat Goss provides a list of recommendations for drivers to ensure their car is reliable as we head into the winter months. Drivers should take these simple steps to ensure their car is in good working order when on the road. None of these tips cost a lot but can save grief and headaches in the long run.
Pat Goss’ Tips to Winterize Your Car
1. Battery – Test your battery to ensure posts and connections are corrosion-free and that your battery has proper amounts of water it needs.
2. Fresh Oil & Filter – This is the most neglected area by car owners. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for recommended intervals and which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.
3. Check Fluids – Make sure you have an equal mixture of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator for best results.
4. Check Hoses & Belts – A week hose or belt could result in cracking causing the car to not operate and could leave you stranded on a deserted back road.
5. Tires – Make sure your tires are in good condition. The lower the tread on a tire can results in the less capable the tire deals with ice and snow, even rain.
6. Brakes – Check brakes to make sure functioning properly.
7. Test Lights – In winter months there is less daylight, resulting in driving in darkness longer periods of time. Drivers need to be able to see the road, but more importantly, need to be seen by other cars.
8. Wiper Blades – Make sure wiper blades can deal with snow and ice. Also, fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid.
To make sure the car is safe and reliable for the cold, winter months, there are a lot of things that have to be done:
• The battery has to be tested to make sure it is strong.
• You should have fresh oil and [a fresh] filter, as far as the engine is concerned.
• All of the fluids should be checked; that includes the anti-freeze or coolant as its called it these days.
• Hoses and belts should be checked because if you think about it, a weak or bad hose or belt in the summer leaves you stranded; you’re sweaty, you may not smell too good. But in the winter, if you’re out on a back road and its bitter cold and the car can’t go, it could kill you!
• Make sure your tires are in good condition. Remember that the lower the tread gets, the less capable they are of dealing with ice, snow and even rain; so you want good tires.
• Brakes should be checked.
• All the lights on the car [should be checked], see as the winter months come on, the days get shorter, we drive more in the dark. And that means that you have to be able to see, that’s critically important, but even more important is to be able to be seen. So tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, all of the lights on the car have to function properly.
• And of course you want good wiper blades that are capable of dealing with snow and ice.