Sweaters are making their way out storage. Leaves are changing colors. Pumpkins are dotting the landscape and cinnamon is the spice of the season. Now is the time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the upcoming cold weather we typically get here in Ohio.
The following tips serve as a reminder of vehicle maintenance you can do to prevent old man winter from damaging your vehicle with his icy grip.
Make sure the oil you have in the engine is the correct viscosity for winter temperatures. Oil tends to get thicker as it gets colder making it more difficult for it to properly lubricate your engine. Follow the instructions of your owner’s manual for which oil viscosity would be best for your vehicle.
2. Radiator fluid
Make sure that you have followed the correct ratio of antifreeze to water as it is noted in your owner’s manual. If you are unsure of the antifreeze/water ratio currently in your vehicle, you can purchase an antifreeze tester. If the percent isn’t what it should be, have the radiator drained and refilled to the proper ratio.
Before the weather turns too nippy, your battery needs a once-over. Check the posts and the battery tray for corrosion, which can lead to poor contact and loss of a positive charge. Carry jumper cables with you, just in case you or a fellow cold weather warrior, are faced with a vehicle that won’t start on a bitter-cold winter day.
4. Belts and hoses
Cold weather can crack and split belts and hoses. Before the weather becomes bitter cold, look over your belts and hoses for wear and tear and replace any that need it.
As the air outside cools, your tire pressure is likely to drop. Expect to lose 1 pound per square inch of pressure for every drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Low tire pressure will have a negative impact on the traction you will get in the nasty ice, snow and wet road conditions that winter typically brings. Proper tire pressure will give you an edge when you need it most. If it is expected to be a really snowy winter and you can afford it, consider purchasing snow tires that are designed to give you the best traction in wintery driving conditions.
To ensure the safest driving conditions, make sure that you can see out of your car and that others can see you. Check your wiper blades to make sure they have full contact with your windshield and are not worn. Driving in a blinding ice/snow storm when only part of the windshield is cleared enough for you to see, is an accident waiting to happen. Test your head and tail lights to make sure they are functioning properly. Fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir (and make sure it stays filled throughout the winter.)
As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. With a little bit of preparation now, hopefully, you can be warm and safe in your travels this winter.