But I Don't Know Anything About Cars: Winter Maintenance

Sep 26 08:09 2011 Jessica Harmon Print This Article

All cars need to be kept up, but winter weather presents its own set of maintenance problems. Be careful to follow these steps to keep your car running smoothly this winter.

Winter is just around the corner,Guest Posting and sneaking up fast! This soon to be winter weather is sure to give our vehicles a hard time! So if you are considering purchasing a new vehicle this month or any time over the winter holiday, make sure you know how to properly care for a vehicle in the coming harsh winter weather! Here are some tips for driving in winter conditions, as well as what sort of maintenance should be done on a vehicle before winter starts.

Always be sure to check your coolant mixture when winter is starting. If the antifreeze were to freeze during winter it could be devastating to your engine. You can find the coolant reservoir under the hood of the vehicle, likely in a transparent container. There should be a fluid level indicator on the side of the container, labeling the minimum and maximum amount of fluid that should go inside the container. If the fluid level is below the minimum, or close to it, you should refill the fluid with an antifreeze solution that you can purchase at your local auto parts store. Also make sure that the fluid mixture is not filled too much with water and is instead more of a 50-50 mixture between water and antifreeze. You can take the vehicle to a garage to have this testing done, or you can purchase a testing kit from the auto parts store.

You also need to check the battery when winter starts. It may not seem like something that would be particularly affected by the harsh winter weather, but in fact battery failure is actually the most common reason for car trouble during the winter months. Check the battery to make sure it is still in good condition. If it is showing signs that it needs replacement, then you should go ahead and do that now instead of waiting for the battery to die. If you’re not sure how to tell if the battery needs to be replaced, your battery may have a condition indicator which will tell you the condition. You should be able to use the battery’s instructions to understand how to use the indicator. If there is no indicator, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use a hydrometer and check the electrolyte. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take the vehicle to a garage to have it tested.

You’re going to use your windshield wipers and washer fluid a lot more often in winter, so it is best to check those before winter starts too. New wiper blades aren’t very expensive, so if you’re buying a used car it is definitely worth it to purchase new wiper blades at the start of every winter. If you’re buying one of our new vehicles you should already have new wiper blades, but don’t forget about this step when next winter rolls around. Check that the washer fluid is topped up, and if it isn’t put in some more. Washer fluid is very inexpensive, so this isn’t something you should let slide since the fix for it is simple. Make sure the jets that spray the washer liquid are clear, and clean them out if they happen to be blocked.

Those are the most important things to check in winter, but there are a few other things that should be checked as well. You should check the hoses for the cooling system to make sure there are no leaks. If it appears that there may be some damage to the hoses that may easily lead to a leak, go ahead and have the hoses replaced to avoid further damage and difficulty with the vehicle. You also want to look at all the lights and indicators. Make sure all the lights and indicators are properly functioning and be sure to replace any bulbs that may have blown. And as you should do in any weather always make sure you have any check engine lights looked at, though this shouldn’t be a problem till you have had your vehicle for some time with our quality new and used vehicles. Look for any damage or tension with the drivebelt(s). If there does seem to be a problem then take the vehicle to a garage to have this checked. You may need to replace the belt(s). And finally, make sure you maintain your regular oil maintenance in winter, perhaps having your oil changed more often than you normally would in the summer. Your vehicle will be under extra strain in the wintry conditions, and since the engine is the life of your vehicle you should be sure not to take any chances.

As for driving in wintry conditions, the first thing you want to do is make sure you pack some warm blankets in case you get stuck, especially if you are taking a particularly long journey. Carry a de-icer fluid as well as a windshield scraper to keep your windshield clear. Jump leads can also come in handy as a helpful tool if an emergency situation should arise. No one wants to have a problem and get their car stuck somewhere, but this is especially true in winter. Don’t forget to use snow tires or snow chains on your tires if the roads are especially icy or hazardous.

Now that you know the basics of winter vehicle maintenance, you should feel safe and confident in driving your vehicle this winter. Don’t ignore your winter vehicle maintenance! This can make or break the life of your vehicle! If you would like more information on how to maintain your newly purchased vehicle, or what to do in an emergency situation, you should check out our other articles in the “I Don’t Know Anything About Cars” series and be on the lookout for future articles in this series!

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About Article Author

Jessica Harmon
Jessica Harmon

Jessica Harmon is a staff writer for Scott McCorkle's Liberty Buick GMC. If you would like more information about our excellent selection of vehicles, please visit our website!

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