Winter Car Maintenance
First off, the electrical components of your vehicle should be thoroughly checked. During cold weather, it is generally more difficult to start your vehicle, so make sure your battery is fully charged. The ignition should be checked for worn spark plugs, damaged or faulty wires, and cracked distributor caps. It is also important to have your headlights cleaned and checked to see if they are working properly since visibility tends to decrease in times of inclement weather such as snow.
Since brakes are critical regardless of driving conditions, it’s best to have your brakes inspected. Never put off any needed maintenance as this could jeopardize your safety. Also check your tires. Make sure they are inflated properly and check for wear. If the tread on your tires is worn, it is crucial that you have them replaced. Its best to buy sets of four, but if you only plan on purchasing two tires, move the older tires to the front and mount the new tires in the rear.
To minimize your exposure to carbon monoxide, have your exhaust system checked for leaks—carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing to take lightly. Carbon Monoxide is hard to detect because it is odorless and death can result from too much exposure. If you find yourself trapped in the snow while your engine is running, clear any snow away from the exhaust pipe and crack open your windows.
Also, remember that there are many fluids in your engine. To prevent them from freezing, make sure the levels of antifreeze are adequate. Keep the mixture fresh by having it regularly changed. Don’t forget to have your heating and cooling system checked for leaks as well.
In case of an emergency, it is always advisable to keep the following items in your car:
- Small snow shovel
- Ice Scraper
- Snow brush
- Traction Mats
- Bag of material that can provide traction such as sand, salt, or kitty litter
- Warning flares or triangles
- Booster Cables
- Paper Towels
- Window Washing Solvent
For more information regarding safe driving tips and proper vehicle maintenance, visit this helpful guide at AAA.