The leaves have been falling and the air has gone from cool to icy. You know that it is time to winter proof the house and pull out the winter coats. It’s also time to do some winter checks on your vehicle. These are some simple checks that you can do by yourself or at least very cheaply. There is no reason to not do them.
1. Check Your Antifreeze
One of the easiest and most important things to check is the antifreeze. The antifreeze will help keep your coolant from freezing. What you want to do is ensure that you have the right mixture of water to antifreeze – generally a 50/50 mix. It is easy to check. A test kit can be bought at most auto parts stores relatively inexpensively. Better yet, many auto part stores and service stations will test it for you for free.
2. Check Your Battery
While you are getting your antifreeze tested for free, a lot of auto service places and auto parts stores will also test your battery for free. Testing your battery is an important thing to do before the winter starts. It is also something that should be done before it gets really hot. Severe weather changes can drain a battery. Also what tends to happen is that people forget when the battery was purchased. As a result, batteries are often used well past the intended expiration date. While getting it tested, you will keep aware of when you should replace an old battery (if the battery is beyond the warranty date it is a good idea to replace it even if it tests fine).
Additionally, the last thing you want is for your car to die when it is freezing out. Granted, not everyone lives somewhere where they could end up buried in snow if their car dies but it’s still a good thing to check.
3. Check Your Windshield Wipers
If you live somewhere where the fall is a rainy season, you’re most likely acutely aware of your wipers’ condition. However, in our area we obviously don’t get much rain so we might not use our wipers for months at a time. Then, when we get our first winter snow or rain we find that they are sun damaged and cannot properly clear the windshield of rain or road spray. High quality windshield wipers are a must have when winter storms hit, so make sure yours are in good condition.
These are some of the basic things to check on the car before winter comes. However, there are some other important items to have in your car before winter comes. No matter what kind of condition your car is in, it is important to have some emergency gear.
4. Prepare an Emergency Kit
The two things you should have in your car winter, fall, spring and summer is a first aid kit and bottled water. Even if you only drive in the city and are never out of cell service or away from people, these are must haves. Even if you only use the bottled water if you forgot to bring water to work, it is worth it to have some in the car. I recommend both a gallon or two and a 24 pack of the bottles. First aid kits are just good to have, even if it is only ever used for paper cuts.
Some specific winter things that one should have are: Mylar thermal blankets (those shiny silver blankets that come in a package), an extra change of clothes, extra motor oil, an ice scraper and matches. There is always more gear that can be added but these are some of the most important. These are also pretty easy things to add to a car. You’ll feel pretty silly if you find yourself stuck somewhere without them.
Have a Professional Check Your Vehicle
The suggestions above are things many drivers can do themselves. However, this is not a complete list of winter checks. Specific checks can vary between vehicles. If you would like a reputable and professional service center to check your vehicle and ensure that it is safe and roadworthy, please give us a call.