Your Winter Auto Maintenance Checklist
Safety is the most important factor when it comes to winter driving. While safety should be on your mind whenever you drive, during winter it is especially important. If your vehicle is not running well, you could end up abandoned in the cold if it breaks down. Furthermore, the rough winter weather could lead you to get into an accident if your cars tires and brakes are not in proper order. The good news is that you can save yourself a lot of bother and danger if you perform some simple auto maintenance.
In order to find what may need replacing, visit your car maintenance log. If you do not have one of these, now is a great time to start keeping one. It is a good idea to keep track of all the maintenance activities performed on your vehicle so that you will always know when the time comes to perform them again.
The first thing you should do is to check your antifreeze. Your antifreeze/coolant performs an important service of keeping your engine from overheating. You should always have a mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water in your tank. If you have only or mostly water, you could end up with a cracked engine block.
Next thing to do is check your tires. If your tire treads are worn down you could end up in the ditch if there is a heavy snow fall. It is recommended that your tires have a tread depth of 2/32 inch. In the winter, most people recommend that you have no less than a tread depth of 4/32 inch. It is easy to test your tire tread by simply using a penny. Always make sure that your tire pressure is good too, cold weather has a way of deflating tires.
If you have not replaced your windshield wipers in a while, now would be a good time. Winter weather can really do a job on your wipers, and they are all you have to keep snow, dirt, and wintry mix off of your windshield. Winter weather can really make driving difficult, so be sure that your wipers are in good working order. While you are at it, go ahead and check your windshield washer fluid as well. Make sure that you only use real washer fluid, not water. Water will freeze in cold weather.
Finally, there are a few other maintenance procedures that you should take care of as well while you are at it. These are not specific to winter, but it does not hurt to take care of them now. Clean your battery posts, inspect your spark plug wires, inspect your brakes, and check your engine oil. These are all simple to do and you might as well get them over with now.
If you live in a cold climate, you should be particularly careful to perform these simple maintenance procedures before every winter. The winter is one of the worst times to be in an accident, and simple maintenance procedures can prevent this from happening.