7-Step Winter Car Maintenance Checklist
Winter is here. Is your car ready for the winter weather? Neglecting seasonal maintenance can lead to the possibility of unpredictable hazardous situations, especially when road conditions are often at their worst.
What can go wrong? A very few scary but all-too-common examples are sudden breakdowns, tire failures, and loss of control in slick or icy conditions. At best, these incidents come with the possibility of significant expense of time spent waiting for road assistance as well as money for repairs to get your vehicle up and running again.
To make sure your car is ready for winter weather, use this easy 7 step car maintenance checklist to take care of the most important cold-weather tasks.
7 Items for Your Winter Car Maintenance Checklist
1. Assess Your Tires
The best way to avoid a flat tire or tire failure is to check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month, and don’t forget to check your spare while you’re at it.
A tire doesn’t have to be punctured to lose air. In fact, all tires naturally lose some air over time, but more so in cold weather. Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, so use a gauge to check pressure regularly, and top off at a service station as needed.
You’ll also want to check the tread to ensure you have the required traction to avoid skidding. To do this, insert a penny into your tire treads. If the tread doesn’t touch the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
2. Check the Battery
Even if your dashboard’s battery light isn’t on, it’s a good idea to check your car’s charging system before winter. A fully charged battery in good condition is a must to start an engine in cold weather, so schedule a visit to a trained technician for a checkup of your battery and alternator before the snow falls.
3. Scan Belts and Hoses
Look under the hood to inspect all belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Check for signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber on all visible parts. Low winter temperatures are hard on plastics and rubber, so it’s best to replace belts and hoses now if they show signs of obvious wear.
4. Replace Old Wiper Blades
After years of use, windshield wipers are likely to be ragged from normal wear and tear and should be replaced regularly. Examine your wiper blades for signs of wear and tear, including cracks and warping. Then, give them a test to see if they clear the glass efficiently or create vision-reducing smears. If they aren’t in tip-top condition, invest in new ones ASAP.
5. Check Fluid Levels
When’s the last time you checked the oil in your car? How about the coolant? If you haven’t touched a dipstick in a while, check your owner’s manual for a refresher about how to do so. Modern cars have several fluid reservoirs to top off, including:
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
6. Test Your Lights
Visibility is reduced quickly when snow falls, and your car’s lights allow other drivers to see you in addition to helping you navigate roads in the dark. Check and replace (if need be) the following lights to keep yourself safe:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Emergency flashers
- Interior lights
7. Stock Your Trunk
You never know when bad weather will hit, so take a moment to stock your car with important items that will help you get through an unexpected snowfall or torrential downpour. You’ll need:
- A blanket
- A pair of warm, waterproof gloves
- A small shovel
- An ice scraper
- Extra window washer solvent
- A flashlight with extra batteries
Postle Tire Barn is West Alabama’s number one stop for tires and automotive services. We are a family owned and family operated tire and auto shop located in Tuscaloosa on Jug Factory Road. Give us a call or stop by if we can be of service to you.