Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Maintenance and Safety Tips for Car

Tire Chains - Weather and road conditions can change suddenly if you are traveling in the mountains or the foothills. Always keep chains handy and learn how to install them.

Winter Safety Kit - Whether you're heading for the mountains or planning a long road trip, it's a good idea to store a few items in an old duffel bag or backpack in the trunk of your car in case of emergency:
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Large flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid supplies
  • Extra blanket and some warm clothing
  • Battery-powered radio with spare batteries
  • Basic tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food
  • Highway safety flares in good condition
  • Windshield ice scraper
  • Replacement electrical fuses (check owner's manual for specifics)

Cooling System - Flush and refill the radiator according to the manufacturer's specifications. This service should include replacing the pressure cap and adding anti-freeze if necessary. A quality repair shop has a tool that can check your car's antifreeze/coolant to make sure that it will provide adequate freeze protection.

Wiper Blades - Replace dry and cracked wiper blades and top off the wiper fluid. (Do not use water!) Check them before the first storm of the season by turning them on and making sure they evenly wipe the windshield.

Battery and Battery Cables - Have your battery tested, especially if it's near the end of its warranty. Inspect the battery cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt.

Brake Pads and Linings - Have your brakes checked by a licensed adjuster.

Tires - Regularly check the air pressure in your tires (including the spare) and inspect them for signs of excessive wear. Uneven or excessive tread wear is an indication that it may be time for rotation or replacement.

Lights - Properly functioning lights are crucial for driving in winter fog. Test them to make sure they work, especially brake lights and turn signals.

Heater and Defroster - You may want to have a professional inspect the entire heating system, as well as the belts and hoses.

Belts and hoses - Inspect the hoses and belts for cracks, soft spots or bulges. If you find a problem, have the hose or belt replaced.

Check Engine Light - Often ignored, your car's "Check Engine" or "Malfunction Indicator" light is the first sign of a problem. Have your car checked by a qualified technician if the check engine light is on.

Gas - Try to keep your tank at least half-full, particularly when driving at night, in bad weather or long distances.

Cell Phone - If you carry a cell phone for emergencies, make sure the battery is fully charged.

1 comment:

Joshua Sophy said...

Have your tires expired? It may sound silly, but aged/used tires are being sold as new at major retailers across the country, and bad tires are to blame for thousands of automobile accidents and hundreds of injuries and fatalities every year.

Have you recently purchased tires you thought were new? Read the following information on how to tell when your tires were made and what to do if you've been tricked: