Having your car break down in the dead of Winter is probably the last thing any driver wants and needs. Here is a handy checklist that the Car Care Council recommends all car owners follow during its Fall Car Care Month…to and inspect their vehicles in preparation for Winter’s challenges.
- Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
- During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
- Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
Heating, Wipers & Lights
- Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
- Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
- Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
Gas, Oil & Filters
- Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
- Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.
- Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust
- Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.
- Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
- Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
Pack the Essentials
- Make sure that your ice scraper and snow brush are accessible and ready to use.
- Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.