Winter weather has arrived early in many areas this year. And if you haven’t gotten around to winterizing your car, better add that to the to-do list. Preparing your vehicle for the cold weather months is just as important as winter maintenance on your home.
Your Winter Car Care Checklist
Don’t worry, the list of items to check for winter maintenance needs is simple. You may be able to inspect most of the items on the checklist in less than an hour. Still, a certified technician should perform several others.
You don’t want to get into your car after a long day of holiday shopping and it not start. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. It’s a good idea to have a trained technician test the battery and charging system.
This is one you can do on your own in just a few minutes. Take a look under the hood to inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks, or loose clamps. You should also squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling. If they are, time for a replacement.
Waiting on the side of the road for help on a cold winter day is no fun and dangerous. Be sure your tires are roadworthy. Check tire pressure more frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressure in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And don’t forget to check the spare.
As your car works harder in the colder months, keeping the air filter clean is key to keeping the engine healthy. Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.
Frozen cooling systems can be the cause of vehicles to break down. It’s essential to keep this in mind during the winter. Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to keep the necessary antifreeze capability. You can check the antifreeze levels with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
Days are shorter during the cold weather months, being prepared for the darkness is key to your safety should you find yourself on the side of the road. Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights, back-up lights. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
As the roads become more treacherous, the ability to stop quickly and suddenly safely becomes more critical. Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.
Taking the time to prep your car for inclement weather can keep you and your family safe while traveling this holiday season. We also recommend these other winter weather driving tips. If you are concerned about your coverage options as we roll into the winter months, please visit our website or give us a call today at 860-684-5270. Our licensed insurance experts will gladly walk you through your coverage options and ensure that you have the right coverage for your individual needs. That’s our promise to you.