The holidays are upon us, which means its time for people to start traveling on trips to see friends and family. Whether you’re traveling North to harsh weather conditions or even staying close by, winter-time can create challenges for your automobile. It can’t hurt to give your car a thorough check up and be prepared for any issues that may arise.
Start off with a self-exam of your vehicle by looking at the following and if you run into problems along the way, be sure to take your car in for further maintenance before travel.
Defroster - You’ll be sorry if you haven’t checked out the defroster and realized that it isn’t working when you’re halfway to your destination and your windshield starts fogging up. Have it repaired before venturing on your road trip if there are any problems.
Check Your Wipers – Replace them if they seem worn and check them periodically throughout the winter. Cold temperatures could cause them to become brittle and you could get ice stuck to the windshield which can cause chips in the glass.
Heater – This is another issue you’ll want to make sure works! If you’re stranded on the side of the road for any length of time or even on a trip that lasts more than 15 minutes in the cold, you’ll need a working heater.
Battery – If your battery is old, it may not be able to provide enough energy to start the car if temperatures dip low. Have your mechanic check it out for you and replace it now rather than at another more inconvenient time.
Antifreeze and Oil – These fluids are crutial during the winter. Antifreeze keeps your car’s fluids flowing, rather than frozen. Make sure the well is filled with fresh antifreeze. Some cars require less viscous oil in colder temperatures. Check your owner’s manual for details.
Lights – Check your head and tail lights as well as blinkers and hazards to be sure everything is working properly. These can be critical in low visibility situations. Make sure all the bulbs are working.
Exhaust System – In the winter, we tend to keep our windows closed. The air in the car is re-circulated. If the exhaust system malfunctions, poisonous fumes can make their way into the interior of the car. Have the system checked if you smell gas or fumes while inside the vehicle.
Brakes – Hopefully you keep your brakes in good repair year round. Ample brake pads and brake fluid are even more critical on slippery roads. If it has been a while since you checked your brakes, do so now. They should be checked every 5000 miles.
Tires – Your tires are an especially critical component of your car. Cold temperatures can cause tires to lose pressure. Check your tire pressure regularly. Also check the treads. Worn or bald tires have little if any traction, particularly on wet or icy surfaces. Good treads could mean the difference in being able to stop or not.