Even if you aren’t ready for the coldest time of the year, at least make sure your car is! These five winter maintenance jobs will help get you ready for winter weather driving:
- Check your antifreeze
Fresh, quality antifreeze provides your vehicle with essential winter protection. Make sure your vehicle has a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. The antifreeze amount should be kept at the full line.
- Check Your Tires
The pressure on all tires, including the spare, should be checked monthly, with a reliable gauge and when the tires are cold. Though it may seem logical, do not go by the pressure stamped on the sidewall of the tire. To find out the proper pressure levels for your vehicle, check the owner’s manual or the sticker that is most often located on the driver-side door jamb. Pre-winter is also a good time to check your tire tread depth. Your tires need at least 2/32″ of depth to be safe, but more is even better. Use the penny test you make sure your tread depth is okay. If you have any doubts, check with your tire dealer to be sure your tread is safe.
- Make Sure Your Battery is Charged
Extreme weather, including cold temperatures, can break down car batteries internally and can accelerate the rate of corrosion on battery terminals. This can lead to insufficient electrical power and the risk of being stranded. It is a good idea to check the battery cables and ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. Typically, car batteries have a three to five year service life, depending on local climate and vehicle usage patterns.
- Check your windshield washer fluid
We tend to use more washer fluid as salt, sludge and snow sprays continually bombard our windshields. You don’t want to be “that person” with the car that looks like it’s just been pulled from a lake. More importantly, you want to make sure you can SEE so you can drive safely. Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with winter cleaning solution that contains enough antifreeze components to keep it from freezing.
- Replace your wipers
In order for the wiper fluid to do its job, you need wipers that are in top shape to keep your windshield clean and safe. The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In regions where snow is common, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
You can perform these maintenance steps yourself, or you can stop by your auto service shop to make sure everything looks good. Just make sure you get it done before Jack Frost gets here!