There’s nothing as exasperating as getting stranded in the middle of a winter storm because your car or truck is not properly winterized. Being stranded beside of the road in winter conditions is not only inconvenient, it can also be dangerous. So to keep you and your family safe while driving on the road there are specific items that you should have checked or replaced before the bad weather hits.
Under the Hood
Temperature extremes affect a variety of components under the hood that should be inspected at least twice per year, the end of summer and the end of winter. Doing so will assure that those parts that are affected the hardest by extreme heat, or cold will remain in working order throughout the hottest and coldest seasons of the year.
Battery – The first item to have checked is your battery. The best way to verify that your battery is in good working condition and will last you through the season is to have it tested at your local auto parts store. Battery testing is a quick automated test that some auto parts stores will perform for free. Depending on where you go, you may have to remove the battery from your vehicle to have it tested, but that is a small inconvenience compared to finding yourself stranded someplace.
Fluids – There are several fluids that you will want to make sure are topped off and working properly; windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and antifreeze. It is important to keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off to allow you to clean your windows when needed as other drivers kick mud, road debris, and splash dirty snow or water obstructing your view as you drive down the road.
Brake and transmission fluids should remain pretty level unless you have a leak. However, it is still a good idea to check these vital fluids to ensure that your breaks work properly when you need them, and prevent excess wear and tear on your transmission while driving in inclement conditions.
Your radiator and antifreeze levels are probably one of the most overlooked aspects of winterizing. Antifreeze
deteriorates over time and becomes less effective. To maintain your car or truck’s radiator system, you should have the radiator flushed and refilled as per your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.
The two main items to have checked and replaced if needed on the exterior of your car or truck are your wiper blades and tires. It is often too late by the time drivers discover that one or both of these items have worn out. Checking them twice a year keeps your windshield wipers functioning properly, and assures that your vehicle has the correct amount of traction when driving in bad weather.
No one wants to come out and find that their vehicle won’t start or be stranded in a ditch somewhere because their vehicle was not in good working order for extreme weather conditions. By performing bi-annual inspections of those parts that become worn or less effective due to extreme temperature changes, you can feel secure that your car will be in proper working order.