Automotive Care Tips - Winter
Holiday season is upon us, and along with the great excitement of parties and the possibility of visiting with old finds and family comes the needed additional attention to your vehicle to that this season can pass by with only good memories.
A few basic things we need to inspect before cold weather hits are the battery, fan belt, washer fluid, wiper blades, heater and defroster operation, and your antifreeze or coolant protection level. Also recommended to insure safety in most conditions would be a good flashlight, a small bag of playground sand, a light blanket and a set of gloves.
Your battery is a necessary item to operate the vehicle, checks of the electrolyte (water/acid) level are a must. A badly discharged battery can freeze. This condition could lead to an explosion when trying to start your car or trying to jump start a non starting vehicle. Remember you need a fully charged battery if for no other reason than to run your hazard lights in the event of some trouble.
Check your drive belts. Many of your later year model vehicles only have on belt and monthly visual inspections are suggested. Look for glazing or deterioration, have a friend bump the engine with the key so that it rotates and the entire belt can be glanced at and not just certain areas of it.
The wintertime usually presents the largest amount of work for your wipers, both blades should be intact and clean the windshield completely without leaving streaks. An often-overlooked item is the washer fluid. Special cleaners are suggested. These can be purchased almost anywhere and protect the system from freezing, clean the window better, and provide a safer system for the driver.
A simple check that can prove extremely helpful when driving in the winter months is a test of your heater/defrost system. Try these out before you need them to insure proper operation and a more comfortable driving experience.
Radiator condition, antifreeze content, and a visual inspection of hoses and clamps need to be done periodically but especially important is the antifreeze content during cold month operation. Check for external leaks. If you have to add coolant regularly during your inspection, the system has to have some form of leak. Look at the condition of hoses and related transfer items. Telltale evidence of a dry crust around the sealing areas indicates at least small seeps. Use an antifreeze tester to determine your protection level. If the coolant is over two years old or found to be rusty, you may need to have the system flushed; however, some new coolants come red in color so be certain of your situation before performing work you may not need. Each car has specific needs. Check with a trained repair facility or your owner’s manual whenever questions arise.
The sand, blanket, flashlight and gloves are suggestions to help you in the event of some problem that may occur during these next few months while you are on the road.
Hopefully these winter tips can help you to experience only the fun times of our upcoming holiday season and your vehicle will be able to serve you with a trouble free winter.
Thank you for visiting Car-Pro of San Antonio in Hill Country Village, TX. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.