Winter is right around the corner, and while you might be tempted to fall behind on your vehicle’s maintenance, now is most definitely not the time to (though it is the time for cheesy puns!) It may not be fun to do now, but conducting some preventative vehicle maintenance before winter will make your life much easier in the long run. Taking care of your vehicle as the weather changes is critical — saving you money and ensuring that your car continues to run smoothly throughout even the harshest of winters. Not only does proper vehicle maintenance keep you from having to deal with costly repairs, but it also makes sure that you and your passengers are safe even in the nastiest conditions. Use the following checklist as a guideline to making sure you vehicle is ready for the upcoming season.
This may seem like a given, but you would be surprised by how many people put off changing their oil until the last second. Before the cold sets in, it’s recommended to replace your current, standard oil with synthetic oil, which is best for severe conditions. Unlike regular oil, synthetic oil maintains its chemical structure regardless of temperature, which makes it a better option when it comes to lubrication and overall protection against wear and tear.
Anti-freeze is made to prevent overheating in the summer and freezing up in the winter. If you wait too long to change it, you ultimately risk harming your system and your vehicle not performing up to par.
It’s a good idea to get your brake fluid changed every two years in order to prevent rust and contamination from harming your vehicle. You also want to get your brakes checked and make sure everything is up to par. If you have any brake concerns, get them fixed as soon as possible. Avoiding brake repair can be extremely dangerous and result in costly car damage or even personal harm, especially in treacherous winter weather.
Nothing is more annoying than a car that won’t start, leaving you stranded in a freezing cold parking lot. Getting your battery checked now can help avoid that situation. If your battery is over four years old, it has a possibility of not working as well in the cold. If you have any doubt about the battery, replace it.
Check tires tread and inflation. Be sure to have your tires at just the right pressure, as under or over-inflating them typically has bad results. Low pressure will ruin your tires faster and cause you to consume more fuel than normal. High pressure can reduce traction, which is especially dangerous in icy conditions. As the weather temperature goes down, keep an eye on your tire pressure. The cooler weather often results in a decrease in air pressure.
This may not be “maintenance” necessarily, but it is still very important for drivers who experience harsh winters. Put together an emergency kit that includes warm clothes, blankets, flares, tire chains, snacks, and sand or kitty litter (works well for gaining traction on slippery roads or ditches).
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of things to do before the snow and ice come in to town. Use this checklist as a starting point to make sure your vehicle is up on its maintenance and ready to keep you safe as the colder months get closer. Remember to drive slow and stay a safe distance from other cars!