Issue #11– October 10, 2008
Cold Weather Car Care Essentials
by: Sharon Kompalla
With fall weather upon us, it’s time to start thinking ahead to the conditions that face residents of Western New York throughout the months of October through March. Extremely cold temperatures, snow, and salt all combine to place additional challenges on your car in fall and winter. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), many common problems with your car can be prevented by taking some simple precautionary measures:
Check your antifreeze:
• Usually bright green in color.
• It should be “rated” for your geographic area. (Rated: The freezing point of your coolant is below the coldest temperature you will experience)
• Change every two years, or every 30,000 miles—whichever comes 1st.
Check your battery:
• It should be properly charged – get it tested.
• Clean top of battery with a solution of baking soda and water. Spray or coat terminals with protector or white lithium grease.
Check your oil type:
• Change oil to recommended winter grade. Replace oil filter as well. (Winter grade oil is lighter weight to help make cold weather starts easier)
Check your wipers and washer fluid:
• Have one set of windshield wipers for summer and one set for winter. Winter blades should be covered with a rubber boot to keep ice, snow, and water from freezing on the pivot points.
• Check your washer fluid level – most washer solvents are good to 10 degrees below zero.
Check your tires:
• Make sure you have at least a “fingertip’s” depth of tread. “Aggressive” treads are better in the snow.
• There should be no bald spots.
• Check for bulges – replace if present.
• Check for proper tire pressure – refer to your door placard in the vehicle for the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch).
• Don’t forget to have a spare tire, and check it for the above conditions.
• Practice changing a flat tire with your spare and jack before it happens on the road.
Check your engine:
• If you haven’t had a tune-up in a while, now is the time to get one!
• Check all belts and hoses for excessive wear and/or cracks.
• Check your heater and engine thermostat – make sure they are up to spec.
• Inspect exhaust system to make sure there are no leaks.
In addition, winter weather warrants that you should have the following items in your car, prior to the first snowfall: spare tire and jack, jumper cables (at least 4-to-8 gauge), flashlight with spare batteries, 3 pack of flares, blanket, extra washer fluid, sand (adds weight and traction when stuck in snow or mud), ice scrapper/snow brush, snow shovel, gas line antifreeze/drier, and insulated work gloves. In order to prevent excessive rust and protect the exterior of your car, be sure to cover any paint chips showing bare metal with touch-up paint, and wash your car and get a good quality wax to protect the finish from salt and other chemicals.
For more articles from this issue, click here