Critical Winter Car Care

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,271
    AAA discusses the critical car care your vehicle needs before winter.

    John Nielsen: Seasonal checkups maintain safety and help prevent unexpected repair costs in the future. Use this simple checklist from AAA to determine your vehicle's maintenance needs for cooler temperatures.

    A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Make sure the batter terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight, have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician.

    Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracking or fraying. Many newer belts do not show signs of obvious ware, so replace these at 60000 mile intervals.

    Squeeze the hoses and replace any that are accessibly spongy feeling or have leaks, cracks or loose clams, safe levels of coolant, transmission, brake and power steering fluids are imperative to safe driving. Only check the coolant level in the overflowed tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50-50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capabilities.

    Investigate the wiper blades in washer fluid reservoir. Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe replace any blade that leaves streaks. Use a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to help it prevent from freezing.

    In heavy winter areas snow tires will provide the best traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions, provided they have adequate tread depth, replace any tire that has tread depth less than 330 seconds of an inch. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressure. Find your pressure levels for your vehicle in the honor's manual or the driver's side door jamb. Don't forget to check the spare.

    With a little preparation, your vehicle will be safe to drive all winter long.