There’s an old saying that goes, “If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.” And while it might be a little dramatic for winter car care, it’s worth taking the steps to get ready now for the impending madness that is winter in New England.
Read on for some useful tips on winterizing your vehicle to make it through the cold weather. Because there’s nothing worse than digging your car out of the snow for 3 hours only to find out that it won’t even start.
Set aside a Saturday afternoon and go through these components in your vehicle – if they all check out, then you’ve already taken a big step toward safer winter driving with fewer headaches. Here’s the checklist:
The intense heat of summer driving often causes damage to car batteries, which is why so many seem to fail when the temperature drops and further weakens the battery.
Pop the hood and get a look at your battery’s case: if it looks cracked, it’s bulging at all, or there’s any corrosion on the terminals, then you should check the voltage with a battery tester. Depending on the results, you may need to replace your battery.
If you took any summer road trips, or you were simply stuck in daily stop-start commuter traffic, your brakes may have picked up some wear-and-tear.
Take a look at your car’s brake pads, calipers and wheel cylinders – if you notice that they’re not evenly worn from wheel to wheel, then you may want to think about service. Uneven braking across wheels often contributes to skidding out on icy or snowy roads.
Next up are the tires. If you don’t have winter or all-season tires, then you need to replace yours. And if you already have all-season or winter tires, be sure to check the tread. If they’re starting to look bald, then it’s time for a new set.
Having good condition all-season or winter tires on your car for the coming months is hugely important – bald tires and summer tires don’t provide nearly enough of the traction you need on slippery roads.
Oil & Fluids
If you’ve been changing your car’s oil at regular intervals, then your vehicle should be fine. For those who have been neglecting it, get it done soon so that your vehicle’s oil is the right consistency to make it through the cold weather.
While you’re at it, refill your windshield washer fluid. It’s also a good idea to check your antifreeze, transmission fluid and power steering fluids, etc. If you don’t know how or you’re not comfortable doing it, then take your vehicle in for service.
Lastly, make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. If they’re starting to crack, or they simply look worn down, then it’s a good idea to replace them before they have to struggle through the snow.
For complete preparedness, check other important winter driving elements like headlights and taillights for those long nights and shocks for all the potholes.
And remember: Colonial has MA service centers all across the state, so find the one closest to you and take it in if you’re concerned about your vehicle this winter.