Drivers do not want a car to break down, particularly in winter. The key to avoid this is to be certain that the car is in good operating condition. The best plan is to schedule a routine appointment for car maintenance. Several steps are included in a vehicle inspection for winter.
Checking the Battery
The battery should be checked because as the temperature drops lower, the battery’s power does so. The battery requires more power to start a gasoline engine in colder weather, so the battery should be checked for adequate voltage. The belts and charging system should be inspected. The battery should be replaced if necessary and the battery cable connections should be tightened.
Inspect the Cooling System
The cooling system should be checked because when coolant gets close to freezing, it expands. This situation could damage the engine block. The car should have the proper amount of coolant that is capable of handling the winter temperatures. Most cars use a 50-50 mixture of water and coolant. The radiator system should be flushed as the rust inhibitors in antifreeze fail after a period of time. Coolant needs to be replaced as rust and dirt can clog the cooling system. The windshield washer tank should be filled as most drivers use up the fluid quickly in a major storm. The reservoir should be completely filled at the beginning of winter. It is best to use a fluid that does not freeze. It is also wise to keep a supply of the fluid in the car.
Maintain the Defroster and Windshield Wipers
The defroster and windshield wiper should be maintained as the safest driving hinges on clean windows and clear visibility. Warn blades should be replaced. Heavy-duty winter blades are available in regions which receive a great deal of ice and snow. The front and rear window defrosters should be working properly.
Install Floor Mats Correctly
The floor mats should be properly installed so that they do not interfere with the brake or gas pedal. To install the new floor mats, do not place new mats over old mats as that might cause the mats to interfere with the pedals. Use clips to retain the mats in position. Be sure that the mats are the proper size for the vehicle.
Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
Tires should be inspected. Snow tires should be put on the car before the beginning of the snow season. The tire ratings can be checked at www.safercar.gov. Tires should have the proper inflation that is suggested for the car. The tire should have adequate tread and not have wear. Tires should be inspected monthly for tire pressure and tread wear.
Practice Winter Driving Techniques
Every car handles the road differently, especially in winter weather. It is best to practice driving on snow but not on a main road to refresh winter driving skills. Drive more slowly as cars are more difficult to control on slippery roads. Know what kind of brakes, whether to pump the break or to apply a steady pressure. Keep the foot off the gas when driving in a skid.
Equip the Vehicle with Winter Supplies
The vehicle should be equipped with items necessary to manage bad winter situations. Windows should be cleaned off. Supplies should be placed in cars. These can include a broom, ice scrapper and broom. Abrasive material such as kitty litter or sand can be used if the car is stuck in ice or snow. Other devices such as a flashlight, jumper cables and warning equipment like markers and flares. Blankets can protect passengers from the cold. Additional items such as a cell phone and charger, food and water, and any medicine, particularly for driving in rural area or for lengthy trips is recommended.
Driver who are considering a refinance car loan might consider making the same inspection before applying for the loan.