Your car needs special care and attention during the cold months. To keep it running smoothly, follow these steps:
Change your oil and oil filter regularly: Make sure you follow the recommendations as specified in your manual. You might want to change your oil more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or your driving habits consist of frequent short trips. Extreme cold weather (below -25 degrees Fahrenheit) may require a different blend of motor oil for your vehicle. If you need assistance changing your oil and filter, contact a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to change your oil and filter for you at a low cost.
Have the cooling system checked: It needs to be properly operating. If you haven't had system flush in a while, consider performing a cooling system flush to keep your system in top condition.
Have the heater and defroster checked: When driving, passenger comfort and driver visibility is very important.
Replace old wiper blades regularly: Driving with old blades is dangerous and can prevent you from seeing the road in front of you, regularly replace old wiper blades to maintain a safe field of vision. In extreme conditions, use rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
Have your battery checked: The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. A weak battery will have no reserve energy to start a car when temperatures drop. Make sure to replace a weak or dead battery to make sure you don't get stuck with a vehicle that refuses to start.
Inspect all lights and bulbs: Replace burned out bulbs and periodically clean road grime from all lenses.
Examine all tires: Check your tires for uneven wear and the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a week, letting the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate tires as recommended. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels make your engine work harder and use excess gasoline.
Stock an emergency kit: It has to contain gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, a flashlight, a cell phone, and an extra car charger. Put a few calorie-rich snacks and some drinking water in your glove box.
If you need further information on things to know about winter driving, consider looking at an in depth article highlighting essential things to know about winter driving. To ensure you have a reliable car, take these useful tips seriously so you manage to stay clear out of any dangerous situations.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Do I Prepare My Car for Winter? and was authored by Maddy Martin.