Here in the Valley Of The Sunwe mainly know “winter time” as simply “not quite as hot as summer”. Winterizing your car might not seem applicable. However, if you live up north, like the Flagstaff area, or you plan to travel in northern Arizona this winter, the following information may be of interest and importance to you. While today’s cars don’t require much extra maintenance to turn on in the coldest months, sometimes even with a remote starter from the warmth of your kitchen, there are still a few things that you can do to make sure that your automobile is in top shape this winter.
Many of these tips you can handle on your own, but a few you may want to leave to one of our trained mechanics.
Check your battery.
Cold weather can affect your car’s battery. The reactions needed to generate power in a car battery slow down as temperatures drop. At five degrees Fahrenheit, a fully-charged battery’s rated amp-hour capacity drops to half. That, along with the fact that your car requires more battery current to start when it’s cold, means that you need to make sure that your battery is in top shape.
Visit us so we can run a battery load test.
If you need to replace your battery, we’ll get you a new one. And if you don’t, we can clean up any corrosion on the posts and connections to make sure that you have no trouble starting your car after Mother Nature dumps a blanket of snow this winter.
Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid (antifreeze type).
Driving in snow is bad. But driving in sleet is worse. Dirt and salt from the road and other vehicles is constantly splashing on your windshield and keeping it clean becomes top priority. Working windshield wipers and a supply of wiper fluid can mean the difference between clear visibility and a potential accident. Wiper blades are only good for one year, so making a habit of changing them each fall is good practice. If yours look frayed or worn, it is definitely time for a change. Windshield washer fluid is available in varieties that freeze at lower temperatures, and if you live where winter hits hard, then we highly recommend it!
Consider snow tires.
If you live where there is regularly snow on the roads, you may choose to change your all-season tires for snow tires. They are designed with a softer rubber to maintain flexibility even in freezing cold temperatures. They also have tread patterns that are created to grip the snow and ice. While you’ll still have to drive slowly and carefully to prevent slipping and sliding on the road, you will notice more traction than your regular tires.
Check your tire pressure.
If you decide not to replace your tires with snow tires, then you should regularly check your tire pressure to ensure that they are properly inflated. Since cold weather can cause air pressure to drop, your tires may not be as full as you thought. For every ten degree drop in temperature, the pressure in your tires could drop about one psi. Tires are made to meet the road fully when filled to the proper pressure; and when the road is icy or snow-covered, you’ll want the best possible traction.
Check your antifreeze.
This is usually the first thing that people think of when winterizing their cars, because it is so important for those living in colder weather regions. The mixture of antifreeze and water in your radiator should be 50/50. This will ensure that your radiator doesn’t freeze. Bring your car into our shop and we will check it for you, or you can purchase an anti-freeze tester from our shop or an auto-parts store.
Create an emergency supply kit for your car.
You never know when an emergency may occur that can strand you roadside. Whether something breaks down, a bad snowstorm hits, or someone slides into your vehicle, you want to be prepared. Pack an emergency supply kit that includes first aid materials, jumper cables, warm blankets, water, and granola bars or other food that has a long shelf life. You may even want to keep a folding shovel in your trunk, just in case you slide into a snow bank. With proper preparation, you can be prepared to wait out a tow truck even in cold weather.
Change your oil.
Cold weather can reduce the effectiveness of your car’s oil, making it thicker and more difficult to circulate through your engine. If your engine doesn’t get the lubrication that thin oil provides, it may not start on those bitter cold mornings. When the cold season hits, bring your car in, and we will check your oil’s viscosity (the thickness of your oil) to ensure that it meets with the proper level for your vehicle and climate.
Check your belts and hoses.
Before the winter weather hits, check your belts and hoses for signs of wear and have them replaced. Cold temperatures can weaken them, which means a belt could snap or hose could loosen or pop off while driving. A simple check could prevent you from sitting on the side of the road during bitter cold or a blowing snowstorm. Questions or comments? Give us a call today!
All month long we’ve been talking about maintaining your current vehicle or preparing to safely purchase a good used car. Something you may take for granted is the safety featured of the car you’re considering. Or maybe it’s time to take stock of how safe your current vehicle is for you and your family. When choosing a car to buy you might want to be sure it offers modern safety features.
When the oil gets low, we pop the hood, look for the small yellow cap, and pour in the quart. But do we ever look at the rest of what’s going on under the hood? If we venture a little farther than the oil cap, we might understand that the battery helps start the car. We might discover that the alternator recharges the battery while the car is running.