Colder days, longer nights – winter is almost here! Nobody wants problems with their cars, especially during bad weather. So, to keep your car reliable and healthy for winter driving, schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable repair shop for pre-winter checking and/or servicing. Make sure that the following items are inspected:
1. Tires – should be checked for proper inflation and adequate tread depth, as well as for age (six years or older is pushing the life of your tires).
2. Battery – the battery condition, charging system operation and starting system operation are critical items to be checked. In cold conditions, batteries lose some of their ability to provide current to operate the starter. Your repair shop should be able to perform a battery load test to determine if it is up to the job. A marginal battery may start the engine when it is 60 degrees outside, but may not at 15 degrees!
3. Starter – this could also be weak and able to start the vehicle at 60 degrees outside, but not at 15 degrees, so a check of the current needed by the starter to do its work will indicate whether it is up to the task or not.
4. Alternator – has to work extra hard to provide the battery with the current needed to run all the accessories used in the cold, especially if you plan to be where there is snow. The charging system should be tested with that same electrical load to make sure it is working correctly.
5. Windshield wipers – should be tested to make sure they are working properly and that the blades are in good condition to ensure clear visibility. The windshield wiper fluid needs to be the proper mix so that it does not freeze.
6. Exterior lights – brake lights, taillights, headlights, etc. should all be working correctly to avoid accidents (and possibly a ticket, too!).
7. Engine coolant – condition and mixture is important to check in order to avoid freezing or engine damage; your repair shop should be able to check both freeze point and acidic level of the coolant.
8. Heater and defrosters – need to be in good working order to keep inside windows clear, not to mention your comfort!
Enjoy the holidays, keep you and your family safe, and have one less thing to worry about – schedule that important inspection/service today!