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Ten Things To Do To Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter

When winter comes upon us, there are some things we need to do to our vehicles to be sure they will get us through with little or no problems. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare for the worst.

 

Change Your Oil
Changing your oil to a winter grade oil will insure your engine is properly protected and will help with those cold morning starts. And, of course, replace the oil filter as well.
Check Your Anti-freeze
Anti-freeze should be replaced every two years, so if you didn't do it last year you need to do it this year. If the summer was unusually hot as it was in many parts of the world, check it for proper protection levels for your area and make sure the color is good with no signs of rust or dirt. Anti-freeze won't help much if it is only good to -10F and your winter temperatures go down to -30F.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Wipers blades are generally good for a year at most. Heat and hot weather take their toll on them and they may be fine in the rain, but will fall apart in that first freeze. I always recommend replacing the wipers in the fall to insure they will last all winter. Snow blades, wiper blades with a rubber cover, are better since the pivot points are inside a rubber cover that keeps water out and prevents the pivot points from freezing. This insures they will make full contact with the windshield.
Replace The Fuel Filter
A lot of fuel goes through the fuel filter every hour. They keep out dirt and separate a small amount of water from the fuel. In the winter this water can freeze and block the flow of fuel to the point where the engine doesn't get enough to run.
Replace The Spark Plugs
Replacing worn out spark plugs will not only save precious fuel, but will insure quick starts on cold mornings.
Check And Replace The Serpintine Belt(s)
The serpentine drive belt is what keeps your battery charged, your engine cool, steering easy to turn and keeps you cool when it's hot enough to fry bacon on the sidewalk. But how often do you really think about it? Not often enough I'll wager.
Check The Lights And Fuses
It gets dark early in the winter so it's more important to make sure all the lights work and the fuses are good. Carry a couple of spare brake light and turn signal bulbs in case of a burn out. The are quick and easy to repair. It's not a bad idea to carry a a couple of each size fuse as well.
Check Your Rear Window Defroster
Your rear window defroster will keep the back windows free of condensation and ice and allow you to see in back of you clearly. Keep an ice scrapper with you to get the heavy ice off and the defroster will be able to work much more efficiently.
Check And Replace Your Battery
Your battery is the only thing between you and waiting in the cold for a jump start. Summers are hard on batteries and winters will bring out the worst in them. If the battery in your vehicle is 4 or 5 years old, it's due to be replaced. The battery that started your car on a nice 80 degree day will be the same battery that will let you down when it's 10 degrees out. Have the whole charging system checked to be sure it is in good shape and ready for a cold winter.
Check Your Tires
Inspect your tires. They have a nasty habit of wearing out without you realizing it. At the very least you should have 4/16's of an inch of tread on the whole face of the tire. If not, get them replaced. If you live in an area where there is heavy snow every winter, get a set of snow tires. All season tires are okay in light snow, but are not very good in heavy snow. All season tires make significant trade offs to be able to be called "All Season".
Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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