It’s Time for a Tune Up!
Mechanics are busy this time of year preparing all their customer’s vehicles for the coming storms and freezing temperatures. Make sure you call up and schedule whatever you need sooner rather than later to get your car ready in time.
Tune up: Most brands recommend a basic tune-up every 30,000 miles to ensure the hardware and connections of your vehicle’s engine are still in good shape. If a milestone should come during the winter months, schedule the appointment early to be sure everything is up to snuff for the white stuff!
Oil Change: With all the stress your engine will be going through during the winter, it’s important to be sure it’s fueled with all the right fluids. Oil should be changed when dirty anyway, but winter may require your engine to be changed to a thinner viscosity to combat the freezing temperatures. Your owner’s manual will tell you more on what your vehicle needs!
Antifreeze: The ratio of your engine’s coolant is variable by the time of year, as well! According to our technical consultants at South Point Dodge (Austin, TX), during the summer months, your car functions on a ratio of 50/50 coolant-to-water, but in the cold months it should be adjusted to a ratio of 60/40.
Brakes: There will be a lot of slips and slides if you’re caught out when the snow starts coming down, so it’s important to have reliable brake pads to keep your vehicle in control and minimize accidents the best you can. Just take it slow and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
There are some extra accessories and helpful items that make dealing with snow and ice much more manageable if you’re out on your own. Easy habits improve your vehicle’s condition and keep you safe while out on the road.
De-Icer: Cold temperatures and ice make doors stick, handles freeze, and plastic brittle! If you can’t open your car door due to a coating of ice-rain or frozen melt off from the night, don’t yank. You can preemptively buy glycerin to de-ice your door free, or otherwise use warm water if you have it on hand.
Fuel: Keep your gas tank as close to full as often as you can. Cold weather can cause condensation to form within a near-empty tank, which then could freeze in the fuel lines and cause a lot of damage and headaches. It’s recommended to keep your needle no lower than a quarter- to a half-tank empty for the length of the winter.
Emergency Kit: It’s always good to have one handy wherever you are, but winter requires some extra supplies that can help you keep you safe, warm, and prepared for anything. Items such as a snow brush, scraper, kitty litter or salt, and a shovel can help you get out of built up snow and clear off your vehicle for your own and others’ safety on the road. Sometimes, it’s best to wait for help, though, and in those cases, you’re going to want some comfort items. Blankets are best for hunkering down; just throw a reliably warm one in your rear seat or trunk for the winter. A flashlight, extra batteries, and flares are good safety items to make other drivers aware of where you are.
Plan ahead and stay safe out there! Always consult your owner’s manual and local mechanic shop to be sure your car can take on the cold!