Use this simple checklist to determine your vehicle’s winter maintenance needs. Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.
- All fluids should be checked, topped off, and/or changed before beginning the winter season, including:
- Winter-grade windshield wiper fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Air Filter - Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked by most of the filters, replace it.
- Engine Hoses - Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feeling.
- Drive Belts - Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals.
- Before going out for a long winter drive, check to see how temperatures may change while you’re out. Changing temperatures can affect both your traction and driving ability if there is a sudden change that you’re not prepared for.
For example, how you should drive in 0° weather is much different than how you can drive in 32° weather. You generally have better traction at 0° than you do at 32° due to surfaces becoming more slippery at these higher winter temperatures.
- It’s important to know what to do before you are in an emergency in case you ever get stuck. If you get stuck in a winter storm while driving
- Do not leave your car for risk of losing sight of it
- Do not run your car for long periods of time. Instead, turn it on long enough to stay warm, and then turn it off again to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- Put your dome lights on to attract attention
- It’s best to know how to drive in winter conditions before getting on snowy or icy roads. With our guide to driving in snow and ice, learn more about:
- What gear to drive in on snow and ice
- How fast you should drive
- Stopping distance you need between vehicles
- What to do if you start sliding
- Driving uphill or downhill
- Replace your windshield wiper fluid often. A single snowstorm can exhaust a large amount of this fluid, so refill the washer reservoir frequently with windshield wiper fluid formulated for winter conditions. If you’re unsure if your washer fluid is the right formula for low temperatures, add a bottle of washer fluid antifreeze to the reservoir. You’ll find it at most auto parts stores.
If you have questions on ways to winterize your car for winter driving safety, give Quality Tune-Up a call!