Winter Driving Checklist
Winter Is Upon Us! Are You Ready?
Winter is here. But, is your car ready?
DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE COLD!
Here are a few things we recommend checking and preparing for before hitting the road this winter:
Check your owners manual and make sure your vehicle is up to date on its recommended maintenance schedule including changing the engine oil and filter, and checking the coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper, and steering fluid levels.
We also recommend inspecting and checking the following:
• Battery - We recommend having the battery and charging system checked. A full charged battery in good condition is necessary to start a vehicle in cold weather. If you would like us to check and ensure that your battery and charging system are working properly, stop by.
• Battery Cables & Terminals - Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.
• Belts & Hoses - Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-ribbed “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; we recommend replacing these belts every 60,000 miles. Check and ensure all coolant hoses are free of leaks, cracks, and loose clamps before setting out on a winter road trip. We recommend having brittle or cracked hoses replaced.
• Tires - We are hoping to have a good winter this year, so be prepared. In the case of snow, we recommend having snow tires installed on all four wheels. All-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage. Studded tires also provide additional handling and control in snow and ice. See our tires page for more details
• Tire Pressure - Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in fall and winter. As the temperature drops, so does your tire pressure – typically by one PSI for every 10-degree drop. Your vehicles recommend tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.
• Air Filter - Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a light. If a fair amount of light can be seen through the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if most of the light is blocked – indicating a dirty filter, the filter should be replaced.
• Coolant Levels - Check the coolant level of your vehicle in the coolant overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, antifreeze needs to be added. We recommend testing the freezing level of your antifreeze annually before the freeze. We can check the level for you or an inexpensive tester can be found at most auto parts stores.
• Lights - Check the operation of all headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
• Wiper Blades - Your vehicle wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. You know it is time to replace your wiper blades when they begin leaving streaks, missing spots or making squeaking noises. Generally, wiper blades have to be replaced every year. Stop by and have us install a set of Napa AcuFit® wiper blades on your vehicle.
• Washer Fluid - Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
• Brakes - If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by one of our mechanics to ensure all components are in good working order.
• Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids - Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
• Pack an Emergency Winter Safety Kit - We also recommend carrying an Emergency Winter Safety Kit in your vehicle at all times. Items should include:
- Mobile phone & car charger
- Bottled drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Battery jumper cables
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
- Show chains
Sound familiar? Many of these tips are the maintenance procedures you should be following all year long. This list includes components we recommend checking on your vehicle before hitting the roads this winter. Drive safe and make sure your vehicle is equipped to withstand your winter travels.