According to the experts at AccuWeather, stuff look this year’s winter is predicted to be “brutally cold and snowy,” thanks in large part to the effects of La Nina. So for everyone that needs to use their car extensively this winter, the time is now to prepare yourself for the stress of the winter season.
Not only will the winter be tough on your car making your local commute, but with rising fuel costs as well as many other factors, many may find themselves driving extensively for the holidays in lieu of taking to the skies. There is no question that for these long trips, having your car prepared for the weather’s onslaught is absolutely essential.
But don’t fret! According to Windy VanCuren, Public Affairs Specialist with AAA Mid-Atlantic, getting your car ready for the oncoming onslaught is not a complicated process.
“Most of it is pretty simple maintenance tips that we recommend people do prior to the winter getting here, to make sure they are properly prepared,” says VanCuren, adding that most of the tips are things people can do on their own, without having to visit a shop.
The AAA website offers a checklist to help motorists prepare their car. Things on the list include:
Car Battery: According to VanCuren, problems with the car battery is the biggest cause of problems for motorists during the winter. “The cold weather is extremely hard on batteries,” says VanCuren. “If your battery is already weak, the cold weather is going to kill it.” VanCuren recommends going to a car shop to check the charge level. Also included in this is to check the connections to your battery.
Car stores, such as Autozone, will check your battery for free. If you would like to take a shot at replacing your own battery, Pep Boys offers a step-by-step guide to do so. It is recommended that if your battery is over four years old that you take steps to replace your battery immediately.
Tires: Also very important, AAA recommends that drivers check their tire pressure as well as the tire tread. Tire pressure fluctuates in the winter, causing AAA to receive a lot of calls regarding flat tires. Tire tread is important to help prevent motorists from being stranded in snow drifts.
Drive Belts: AAA recommends drivers to check their drive belts for any wear or fraying. It is recommended that drivers change these belts every 60,000 miles.
Coolant Levels: According to AAA’s website, “Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.”
Wiper Blades/Fluids: Check your windshield wipers to not only make sure that they work in the event of inclement weather, but to make sure that they have enough fluid to clean your windshield when needed.
Other maintenance tips include checking your lights, air filter, and transmission, brake, and power steering fluids. Also recommended is keeping an “emergency road kit,” which includes items such as a bag of abrasive materials (such as cat litter or gravel,) a snow shovel, a flashlight, an ice scraper, and jumper cables, among other things. According to VanCuren, a fully stocked emergency road kit is available for purchase from AAA.
For further automotive help on the go, AAA has introduced AAA Roadside, a mobile app for your iPhone or Android. So you can be assured that AAA has your back in the event of a winter emergency on the go.
Considering the current state of the economy, car maintenance is now more important than ever for motorists trying to extend the lifespan of their vehicle. Furthermore, the amount of money car owners can save by working on their cars themselves makes maintaining your vehicle a wise investment. With some research, it is also possible to find some great deals.
For example, a quick search on dealnews.com reveals a host of sitewide coupons for Advanced Auto Parts, including one for 20 percent off of everything sitewide (the code, by the way, is “P20”). This is perfect for buying cheap parts such as new windshield wiper blades or a new air filter.
Perhaps not surprisingly, eBay is a great tool for shoppers to find cheap auto parts. Not only are they available in auction, but users can find a store for car parts for wholesale prices, making it easier than ever to get your car ready for winter. Be careful though, to make sure that the sellers operating the stores on eBay are reputable dealers.
It is essential to get your car prepared for the winter, but it does not have to be a painful experience! With a little bit of initiative, car owners can have their cars ready for the harsh weather cheaply and efficiently.
For more information, visit AAA.com to learn how you can better prepare yourself for the winter months.