We are a society that relies heavily for our vehicle to get us from point A to point B. And, we count on it running in all seasons. While we technically have one more day until the official start of winter, it is safe to say that Winter is indeed upon us already. With cold arctic air, snow, and winter ice-mixes, and downright freezing temperatures, this is not the time of year anyone wishes to be stranded on the side of the road because of your vehicle. That being said, if you haven’t already gotten your automobile checked out and serviced for the winter season, the time to take care of this is now. Below are some things you should have checked going into this cold season:
While car batteries last longer in cold climates than in warm, the cold starts put a greater demand on batteries. The heat of summer plays a big factor in car battery life, so if you haven’t gotten a new battery since summer, definitely have yours checked to ensure it is in optimal condition leading in the cold weather. Additionally, if your battery is 5 years old; it may be about time to replace it.
Drive belts are essential for keeping your vehicle’s electrical alternator, engine cooling, and air-conditioning systems running. While you should have them inspected periodically and replaced when necessary, its always a good process to have this checked leading into the winter weather season. Doing so will make you less likely to experience a broken belt and the resulting vehicle breakdown.
For vehicles with timing belts, most manufacturers recommend service every 60,000, 90,000, 105,000 or 120,000 miles. You can’t see your timing belt when you open your hood, but it’s important. It synchronizes the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft in your car’s engine. If your car has an “interference engine”, a broken belt could cause serious internal damage and expensive repairs. Go ahead and have this checked if you haven’t have it checked in awhile.
Recent studies show that 9 out of 10 vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlights. This decreases nighttime visibility by as much as 90 percent. The last thing you need when driving through snow or a wintery precipitation mix is less visibility. Start making a habit of wiping down your headlights when you gas up. This will help keep them clean.
Do you already have hazy, yellowish, scratched, cloudy or dull headlights? You can quickly restore clarity and brightness to most lenses through the purchase of an headlamp restoration kit or by taking it to a local repair facility to have them restore the lenses. While it is unlikely that this process will make the lenses look as good as new, it will improve visibility and enhances your vehicle’s appearance.
Make sure to keep your tires aired up properly. Besides improving your driving it will also help with gas mileage to do so. Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System warning light comes on when a tire is 25 percent under inflated. This monitoring system is required on all vehicles 2008 and newer. If your recommended pressure is 32 psi, 25 percent below means you are at 24 psi; which is severely under inflated. At that low pressure, your safety is at risk, your fuel economy is hurt, and your tire is wearing out too fast. Have your repair facility check your tires for wear and ensure they are aired properly.
Your cooling system is extremely important in the operation of your vehicle. The belts in your car drive your water pump, circulating coolant throughout your engine. Always maintain the proper level of coolant in your automobile’s system, will prevent your car from overheating and ruining your engine. Leading into the cold months it is important to have your coolant levels checked. It is good to do this when you have your oil changed. Your repair shop should inspect your engine belts for cracks or missing sections. Your car’s radiator cap should be free of corrosion and leaks in order to protect your engine from getting to hot. Additionally, the coolant mix for winter in your radiator may need to differ from your summer mix. An auto repair professional can help ensure this is done properly.
Your wipers are equally important as they can prevent a wreck just by clearing debris from your view. Replace your wipers every wet season for optimal results. If you do not know how to replace your wipers, any auto repair facility should be able to do this for you at a minimal fee.
It is never fun being stranded on the side of the road. Moreover, it can be unsafe, especially when the weather is extreme. Having your vehicle properly serviced and checked out goes a long way in preventing such from happening. If you are in the Wichita area, contact our service facility at (316) 945-8540 and we will gladly inspect your vehicle. Outside of Wichita, KS? Feel free to contact any of our locations for a recommendation on an auto repair facility we use and trust.