Preparing Your Car for Winter Driving

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Summer’s heat is hard on your vehicle systems, and Winter’s freezing cold can be just as bad.  Your car needs to be in shape coming into our cold winter temperatures.  Below are some winter car preparation tips:

Check your battery.  Changes in temperature (heat and cold) take a toll on your battery, and your battery’s efficiency drops with the ambient temperature.  Have it checked to make sure you aren’t left stranded!  Cleaning the battery terminals will help make sure the electrical connection will work as the engineers intended.

Visibility is key.  Can you see out of your windshield, or do you have cracks and pitting in the glass?  Are your windshield wipers cracked or dried out, leaving streaks of moisture as they swipe the glass?  Check your headlights – is the headlight lens scratched and cloudy or is the headlamp burned out?  All three of these can be replaced relatively inexpensively, and will ensure you see what is on the road ahead of you.

Check your antifreeze!  Be sure you have the correct amount of coolant and it will adequately protect your engine to -35 degrees. You should have your coolant system flushed every 5 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first (to get rid of old fluid that has sludge and is not as effective).

Change your engine oil.  Engine oil becomes thicker in the cold, and it is harder for your engine to turn over before actually starting.  As your oil thickens with the seasonal drop in temperatures,  your thickened oil pumps slower upon start-up, increasing metal-to-metal wear.  Clean, high quality oil and oil filter will reduce the wear and tear and prolong your engine life. Be sure your oil is changed at regular intervals, so it is as clean as possible.

Tires:  Traction on winter roads is essential for safe driving and stopping.  Check your tread depth to be sure you have enough rubber to grip the road. Using the head of a penny is an easy way to measure tread depth.  Place the top of Lincoln’s head in the tire tread, and if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you have less than 2/32” and should consider at a new set of tires.  Depending upon where you live, you may want to consider changing to an all-season or winter tire.

Brakes:  Stopping distance will be longer with slick roads, so make sure your brakes are optimal and will bring you to a safe stop when needed.  Brake pads wear with time, and do require periodic replacement.  If you are hearing squealing or grinding or are feeling a pulsation when you apply your brakes (especially on downhill braking), then you need a brake repair or check- up.

Keep in mind that with every Colorado Springs oil change at Honest Accurate Auto Service, we check ALL of the above items, top off fluids, and let you know what needs to be flushed or replaced.  Or, if you have a question, please stop by orschedule an appointment.  We are always willing to check your tires or fluids, or listen to your concerns.  We are your “Corner Mechanic”, and are always happy to make sure you are riding the roads safely!

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