Keep Your Vehicle Running in Winter Weather

Winter driving can be tough on your vehicle, so make sure

you’re ready for it. These guidelines can help you stay safe

on the roads this winter.


Battery and Charging System – A certified technician

should check your battery, charging system and belts.

Your battery can die because your charging system isn’t

working properly. Remember that in winter, the engine is harder to start, because the oil isn’t as “fluid” as it is in the summer. Also, batteries lose power as the temperature drops, so they will be less efficient.


Cooling System – Make certain the antifreeze will protect your car in winter temperatures. A function of antifreeze is to keep your cooling system from rusting. The rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down over time and need to be renewed. So, at a minimum, have a qualified technician change your engine’s coolant, as recommended by your manufacturer. In addition, if your heater isn’t working properly, you may need your coolant checked.

Windshield Wipers – Replace wiper blades every six months. Make sure your wiper blades clean the windshield to allow you to see clearly. Even when there’s no active precipitation, water from melting snow and slush or truck tires can be thrown up onto your windshield. Also, consider special snow blades if the weather dictates. When using your wipers in the winter, remember to turn them off BEFORE shutting off the engine. Water frequently freezes overnight during the winter. And if your blades freeze to the windshield, when you start your car, the wiper motor can burn out trying to get them back to the “rest position.”

Windshield Washer Fluid – On a snowy day, you can go through half a gallon or more of windshield washer fluid trying to keep your windshield clean. So, it’s a good idea to keep some extra fluid in your trunk in case you run out. And, if you live in an extremely cold climate, you may want to consider supplementing your fluid with a concentrate.

Gas tank – Keep your tank as close to full as possible. A full fuel tank decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

Rear-Window Defroster – In many states, the law requires that all of your windows be clear before you hit the road. So, make sure your defroster is working properly.

Oil – Change the oil in your vehicle as recommended by your manufacturer. For less wear and tear on the engine, drivers in cold climates, like sub-zero temperatures, check your owner’s manual for recommended oil under these conditions.

Tires and Lighting – Tire tread and pressure should be checked monthly. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. Lights should be inspected regularly. Check to see that bulbs are illuminated and headlights are properly aimed.

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