Prepare your Vehicle for Cooler Weather: Car Care Checklist
With colder weather on the horizon, making a potential breakdown more dangerous, it’s important to ensure your vehicle is ready for whatever nature throws its way. By using a checklist, you can determine your car’s maintenance needs.
You can do a visual inspection of your car to start and then make an appointment at your local AAA Car Care Center for an inspection by a certified technician.
• Check to see that all interior and exterior lights are working properly.
Make sure the lenses of your headlights and taillights are clean and replace any burnt-out bulbs.
• Inspect your wiper blades and consider winter wiper blades, if necessary.
It’s important that you can see clearly through your windshield at all times. This is especially true when it’s raining or snowing and your visibility is compromised. Many newer vehicles come with a beam style blade. This is a solid blade with no metal frame which prevents ice buildup and allows the blade to hug the curve of your windshield. You can replace your standard blades with this beam style on any car.
• Make sure your heater and defroster are working efficiently.
Use your defroster to clear your entire windshield before you head out on the road. Interesting fact: did you know that your car’s air conditioning system is what allows your defroster to clear your windshield efficiently? Before the temps get colder out, address any concerns with your air conditioning to ensure your defroster is working properly.
• Check tire tread depth and tire pressure.
Worn out or unevenly worn tires can not grip the road in wet and icy conditions. If necessary, replace your tires before the weather changes. Also, as the temperature fluctuates, so does the air pressure in your tires. In colder temperatures, low pressure can dangerously affect your car’s handling, fuel economy, and could lead to a blowout.
• Have your brakes checked by a certified technician at AAA.
As the roads get slick, your stopping time increases. Make sure your brakes are working properly to ensure you can stop safely..
• Get your oil changed and filters switched as recommended by the manufacturer.
Winter weather adds stress to you engine. Fresh oil and a new oil filter is a simple way to ensure you aren’t compounding the problem. Replacing your engine air filter allows your engine to breathe better in the cold air and a clean cabin air filter prevents bacteria and odors from spreading into the interior that resulted from the hot and humid summer we just wrapped up.
• Keep your gas tank full or at least half-full during colder weather to prevent moisture from forming in the gas lines.
Also, a full tank will eliminate the worry of running out of gas if you get stuck in heavy traffic, or if you need to keep the car running as a heat source.
• Check your battery connection for corrosion and learn about ways to maintain your battery life in colder weather.
Extreme temperatures can cause battery issues, so get ahead of potential problems. Your local AAA Car Care Center can test and replace weak batteries.
• Have your cooling system checked and flushed if necessary or top off the antifreeze if needed.
Your car’s radiator helps the engine to stay at a proper temperature, regardless of how hot or cold it is outside. If the system isn’t working properly, your engine could freeze in the winter, meaning your car won’t start.
• Have AAA check your exhaust system for leaks.
Leaks can be dangerous in cool weather when windows are closed.
• Stock an emergency kit in your car.
Include blankets, bottled water, a flashlight, shovel, ice scraper, and a first aid kit. If you should get stranded, call AAA for roadside assistance.
• Keep your wipers off your windshield overnight when wintry weather begins.
If your car is parked outside, this will help to ensure they are not frozen to the windshield in the morning when you need to leave.
As you prepare your home for colder weather, remember to take care of your car too. A few minutes at home inspecting your vehicle, along with a maintenance appointment at your local AAA Car Care, can save you time and money down the road. Make an appointment to visit your local AAA Car Care today!