How To Get Your Car Ready For Winter

The winter cold is almost here and so it is important now that you start to do some pre-winter maintenance to your vehicle. The last thing you want is to break down in the snow.

1. Battery

If your battery is over three years old, there’s a good chance it probably won’t last through the winter—even if it’s a 60- or 72-month unit. Three years seems to be the lifespan, no matter what they say. There are a few things you can do to make sure your battery is in tip-top shape. First, make sure the terminal ends are clean—use a battery wire brush to clean them. Secondly, even though practically all batteries today are “maintenance-free”, check the electrolyte level by prying-off the covers and filling any low cells with distilled water. Don’t use tap water.

2. Tires

If your tires have less than half of the original tread left, I’d seriously consider replacing them. You need all the tread you can get driving in snow and slush. Otherwise, check air pressure regularly and make sure you have a fully functional spare in the trunk—temporary or otherwise.

3. Wiper Blades

Here’s another item that doesn’t get changed often enough. If you can’t remember when your wipers were changed last, replace them now. Also keep a spare container of windshield wiper fluid in your trunk.

4. Anti-Freeze

If you’re not sure if you need to have your anti-freeze changed, just get one of those anti-freeze testers and check yours out by yourself. If the tester indicates it’s time, might as well have your cooling system reverse flushed while you’re at it. Not only will you be ready for winter, but for next summer as well.

5. Under-Hood Check

Take a look at all the hoses and belts. If you happen to notice small cracks on the hose ends or excessive bulging, consider changing them now. Take a look at the fan/serpentine belts, too. If there are numerous small cracks on the underside, it’s time for a new belt. Check all fluid levels while you’re at it, too.

6. Exhaust System

Exhaust systems today are considerably longer-lasting then they ever used to be. At least ones from the factory. Replacement pipes and mufflers don’t often last as long, especially cheapie mufflers (even those that are guaranteed for life). Get under your car to see if the muffler and exhaust pipes are still solid and “ring” when you tap them with a hammer.

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If you have any other pre winter tips for car owners than share them with us in the comments section below.