1. Your winter service should include an oil change, and the oil used should meet the manufactures spec’s. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.
2. Make sure you can see. When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. Make sure you fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. (Plain water won’t do the trick at this time of year because it freezes.) Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.
3. Give your battery a little TLC. This is an ideal time of year to make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge.
4. Examine your belts and hoses. When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a modern car. Cold weather can do a number on belts and hoses, so they deserve attention.
5. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction. Traction is compromised wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped, as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. (You can generally expect that you’ll lose 1 pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops by 6 degrees Centigrade). Again, your trusty owner’s manual will tell you what your target tire pressure should be.
6. Think about switching to snow tires. All season tires are OK but not as safe as winter tires, especially in our hilly terrain. You might want to improve traction with winter tires. When shopping around for snow tires, ask about all the fees that might come into play, such as mounting and balancing. Haney Automotive would be happy to supply all your tire needs.
7. If you have four-wheel drive it’s important to check the status of your four-wheel-drive system and be sure it’s working correctly — especially because most drivers don’t use their 4WD often. Be sure that the system engages and disengages easily, and that all drivers in your household know how and when to activate the system.
8. Have Haney Auto check the condition of your cooling system making sure it is clean and good to at least -25 Degrees C. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed. If you do your own service be sure you’re equipped to dispose of your old antifreeze properly. It can’t just be poured down the drain.
9. Prepare an emergency kit and store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:
A blanket, boots, gloves, extra clothing, water and food including hard candies, ice scrapper, small shovel, flashlight, windshield washer fluid, flares, jumper cables, tire chains, inflated spare tire, tire change tools, first-aid kit, and some sand and/or salt.
10. Know what to do if you get stranded. Don’t wander away from your car unless you’re completely sure about where you are and how far away help is. Light two flares and situate them at each end of your vehicle to call attention to your plight. Put on the extra clothes and use the blanket to stay warm. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you’re waiting for help. Leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut. Suck on a hard candy to prevent your mouth from getting too dry.2