You might not want to think about winter driving right now, but the summer of 2010 is in your rear view mirror and we are in the fall season. The fall season is the perfect time to start to prepare your vehicle for the winter, as this time of year for the automotive repair industry is usually a slower period allowing you to get an appointment with ease. Checking your vehicle now, will allow you to find out your needs and also affords you some time to budget for needed repairs. Not having your vehicle checked you risk the chance of being surprised with the first cold snap we get, and of course that’s going to be the very day you need your vehicle the most. The following items are things I recommend you should have done. Some of these items can be checked or done inexpensively by you.
• Have the Battery and Charging System condition checked.
• Check Engine Coolant (Antifreeze) condition and freeze protection.
• Check windshield washer operation and flush out any water and fill system with washer antifreeze.
• Check wiper operation and this is a perfect time to replace those wiper blades, if your vehicle has a rear wiper do not forget about it.
• Check the tread depth of your tires. The recommended tread depth for driving in snow is 6/32” or more. The minimum tread depth allowed for most state inspections is 2/32” so you can see having tires that pass state inspection may not provide you with the best available traction in the snow. Most repair shops or tire dealers would be glad to check your tread depth for you.
• Check the exhaust system for any leaks as a small leak could cause Carbon Monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment.
• Clean all the windows inside and outside. This will help visibility and with inside window fogging on those cold humid days.
• Clean the door and trunk compartment gaskets and treat the gaskets with a dressing such as Armor All or similar products. This will not prevent but at least minimize having doors from freezing shut.
• Lubricate door locks with a water displacement or lock lubricant. This will help minimize frozen locks. For those of you with remote keyless entry now would be a good time to replace the batteries in the remotes, as when it gets cold those batteries will be affected also.
• Check or have checked the operation of all lights, as this will help you be seen by other vehicles in those low visibility times of rain and snow.
By checking these items now you prevent those surprises at the first cold snap and you know that motor assistance providers usually have a long wait for assistance on days like those, and things always end up costing more in these circumstances because you cannot shop around for the best price at this point.
I hope this helps you have a safe and problem free winter driving season.