Often it’s too late when we realize something we should have done, something we know is important but never as important as when it’s too late. If you are anything like me, winterizing your car is one of those things. With the thoughts of the first snow of the season closing in on western Pennsylvania, there is no better time to get this process started. Yes, that is precisely what it is, a process.
It may seem almost archaic with all of the technological advancements that our cars, trucks, and SUVs offer us but, much like humans machines error as well. Sure your vehicle will tell you when your air pressure or washer fluid is low but, sometimes this isn’t exactly the fair warning we need. Not to mention, some of us don’t change windshield wipers every time we get an oil change or twice a year like necessary, even with a calendar in our pocket daily. While you are trying to remember all of these little things, don’t forget to check your battery too! Our list below will provide you will all the crucial steps to make sure your vehicle is ready to face any winter blast that comes your way.
This one is probably the most important because when you turn on the morning news and hear about the sweeping arctic blast coming our first thought, beyond how many layers should I put on, usually goes to our vehicles, and if they will start. Even preparation has to fight these frigid temperatures, at 5 degrees F, a fully charged lead-acid battery has only half its rated amp-hour capacity. Imagine what your current battery might be at? On top of that, during cold weather, your engine requires more current from the battery in order to get the engine started. This is the time to stop in and have your mechanic check your battery – although it will cost the same when you bring us your car with a dead battery, no guarantees the tow company will give you the same deal.
Wipers and Fluid
Well, if you’re going to have your wiper blades checked, it’s worth it to check the fluid. Since winter conditions can often bring low visibility, these items are crucial to keeping you safely on the road. Even when the winter is decent in the winter, the residual build-up from all the salt can often reduce visibility. Keeping up with your blades and fluid can help at times like this. You can check your blades at home and look for signs of fray and wear but, if you have your vehicle in for your battery, make sure to ask for this and a fluid top off.
If you have snow tires – great! This will make all of your winter travels a little easier. If not, it’s worth the investment to help get around when those sudden snow bursts hit your local area. If nothing else, make sure your tire pressure is at the very least where it should be. For every 10 degrees drop in temperature, your tire’s air pressure will drop about 1psi. Make sure you know what psi is ideal for your tires, and if you are filling your tires on your many gas stations offer machines that will signal when the correct psi has been reached.
Often if your tires are in good condition, this would be a good time for just a simple rotation and keep in mind that it’s great to get the alignment checked at this point. Remember, even the best tires are no match for some icy conditions.
Belts and Hoses
Often the cold can add additional stress on your belts and hoses. It might be easy for you to see signs of wear and tear, and you might think you could change it to get through the winter. If you do decide to chance it and a belt happens to snap, you will have to sit in your cold car for however long it takes a tow truck to show up. (Keep in mind the same thing goes for tires – I’ve blown a tire on a freezing evening on the way home from work, it’s not a pleasant way to spend the evening.)
This is something you can handle at home if the essentials are up to date on your vehicle. If you are planning on taking care of this on your own, it is advised to make sure you know the correct levels, and it never hurts to have a spare at home in a temperature-controlled area. Fluids like antifreeze, oil, brake, and transmission fluids should be topped off prior to winter. This might be a great time to consider an oil change, too, if you have one scheduled within the winter months and have your mechanic handle all this before the cold weather hits.
There are plenty of individuals who can handle these things are home and might be so inclined to do so. Myself, I prefer to get a ride to work or enjoy the convenience of the courtesy shuttle and drop off my car for the day to receive service. That way, I’m not spending time worrying how both my car and myself are going to get through the frigid temperatures and snowy weather to come.
Three Rivers Volkswagen offers some great Winterization packages, services can also be individualized as well. For those of you who recently were due for an oil change you may just need a fluid top-off and we’d be happy to provide that for you. Our service department is available six days a week, call in today and schedule to get your vehicle ready for this winter. You can also schedule service right here on out website!
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