Regular vehicle maintenance is an essential part of road safety, but it becomes even more important in winter. As the mercury drops and a chill enters the air, you need to ensure your car is ready to deal with the challenges it will face in the coming months. All it takes is a quick car check!
You can do most of these checks on your own, or bring your vehicle to our auto body repair center in Concord CA for seasonal inspection and maintenance. In addition to taking care of any repairs or adjustments, our experienced team will also be able to help you with more tips and advice for winter safety.
Help your vehicle remain road-worthy this winter with these 8 checks:
- Lights – Shorter days mean the sun sets earlier and it gets dark faster, so you may be driving in low light quite often. Clear any leaves, debris and snow from your vehicle’s exterior lights before driving. Check headlights, taillights and fog lamps to make sure they’re providing enough illumination, replace any bulbs that are in bad shape, and consider keeping a few spares in your car.
- Battery – Car batteries don’t operate well in cold and damp weather, and their cranking power could drop by as much as half. A battery that’s weak at other times of the year could die in winter, and you don’t want to be left stranded in chilly weather when your car refuses to start. Get a volt test performed and replace your battery if it isn’t in good working condition.
- Coolant – A coolant mixture of antifreeze and water keeps your engine from freezing when the temperature drops. Check coolant levels and ensure there are no leaks in the radiator or engine before the start of winter. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is recommended in low temperatures, but you can also use 60/40 or even 70/30 in extremely cold conditions.
- Engine Oil – Motor oil gets thicker in cold weather, which makes it more difficult for your car’s engine to turn over. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendation for your vehicle, and use a multi-viscosity oil with a “W” in the viscosity index for winter use. These are formulated to provide good oil flow even at low temperatures. Replace the oil filter when you get an oil change.
- Tires – Every 10-degree drop in temperature can lower tire pressure by 1-2 pounds/sq. inch. Low tire pressure and poor alignment increases the risk of blowouts and collisions. It also affects vehicle handling and control, so keep track of tire pressure and inflate tires as soon as they get low on air. Check tread depth, rotate tires as recommended, and consider winter tires in extreme weather.
- Climate Control – Your vehicle’s climate control system keeps you warm and comfortable in winter, but it can also keep your windows from fogging up while driving. Check if the heater and defroster are working properly, and inspect the exhaust system, trunk and floorboards for leaks or holes. Exhaust fumes inside the car pose a serious threat to your health and safety.
- Wipers – Windshield wipers see heavy use in winter, especially in areas with heavy rain or snowfall. Inspect wiper blades for wear and tear, keep them clean and replace them if there are streaks or missed sections on your windshield. To prevent frozen washer jets, keep your washer fluid reservoir topped up with a winter-blend solution that contains water mixed with an antifreeze agent.
- Other Tips – A full tank of gas can keep water from freezing inside the fuel pump, and you can keep the engine running to stay warm in case you get stuck. In addition to keeping the fuel tank topped up, carry a winter survival kit that includes a first-aid kit, blanket, knife, flashlight, jumper cables, tow rope, shovel, scraper, de-icer, high-energy foods, and a cellphone charger or power bank.
Pre-winter maintenance can help boost mileage and fuel efficiency, reduce pollution, enhance your safety behind the wheel, and catch small issues before they cause serious breakdowns. At Monument Collision Center, we can help you get your car winter-ready. Visit our auto body repair center in Concord CA today!