Winter is coming, and just like you'll want to take steps to winterize your house against the cold weather, you should also prepare your vehicle against the onslaught of old man winter. Winterizing your auto is not difficult or too time-consuming. Most of the steps can be done on a do-it-yourself basis. The time and trouble spent following a simple winter prep routine will allow you to drive more comfortably and confidently when the cold weather hits. Here's a list of things to consider.
Changing your engine oil and filter at the beginning of the cold season is a good idea. If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, you might consider running thinner oil during winter. If you typically use 10W-30, switching to 5W-30 will provide better engine protection when driving in cold weather. If you're currently using conventional motor oil, consider the benefits of modern synthetic oils. These have been shown to give better anti-friction protection and allow for greater time or distance between oil changes.
Make sure you have the appropriate tires for winter driving is critical, especially for drivers likely to encounter snow and ice. Good all-season radials may provide adequate all year driving performance in areas where snow and ice are only a minor concern. Just make sure there's plenty of tread, with 2/16 "being the minimum.
In locales where snow- and ice-covered roads are typical, specialized snow or winter tires are recommended. This means having two separate sets of tires for your vehicle and switching them out at the beginning and end of the winter season. Keeping track of which tires were removed from which wheels will enable you to incorporate your regular tire rotation routine into the swapping over process.
Car batteries require more power to start an engine in cold weather and the preventive maintenance you perform now can save you from being stranded later. Batteries need to be topped off to the full level line and should have a charge of at least 12.4 volts. Make sure your battery cables are in good condition, with no cracks or cracks, and that the connectors are clean and fit tightly to the battery terminal posts.
An automobile requires a variety of different fluids to perform properly and these should be checked to ensure that they are at the proper fill-level. These include power steering fluid, transmission oil and brake fluid. For proper winterizing, windshield washer fluid should be topped off with a solution that contains anti-freeze or some other additive that will prevent the fluid from freezing. This is also a good time to check the condition of your windshield wipers and to ensure that the nozzles that deliver the windshield spray are not plugged and are properly aimed for good coverage.
The radiator should be checked for leaks and filled with the proper mixture of water and anti-freeze, determined by the temperature in the area you'll typically be driving. A radiator flush is not a bad idea either, and will extend the life of this critical component.
If your car's exterior has suffered any recent damage that has not been repaired, it's best taken care of before winter sets in. The harsh weather combined with salt used on roads will accelerate any rust or corrosion developing in the area of a dent or ding. A good cleaning and polishing of your auto's exterior will provide wintertime protection from the elements, and should also be considered.
These five items are a good place to start your auto repair winterizing and should be done before the first frost. These preparations should give you peace of mind and should help to ensure trouble free winter driving.