Editor’s Note: This guest post is courtesy of the Car Care Council, which is dedicated to educating vehicle owners about the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance through its “Be Car Care Aware” program.
If you live in a cold weather climate, chances are your hot rod or muscle car is already tucked snugly away for the winter.
No such luck for you.
You still have to function during the winter. And that includes transporting kids around town, commuting to work, and
doing the occasional donut in the snow having a little bit of fun in your free time. To make sure your daily driver is up to the task, the automotive maintenance experts at CarCare.org put together a list of nine essential steps to winterizing your vehicle. These steps will help you avoid a potential breakdown or fender bender during those harsh winter months:
- Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
- Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
- 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 the tire tread depth and tire pressure. 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.
- 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. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
- If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
- Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
- Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
- Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
Find even more vehicle maintenance tips, check out CarCare.org!