The winter can be one of the more difficult times of the year for both car and driver. The cold affects everything, including your car.
The question, then is, how you can winterize your car so that it remains the "high performance machine" that you have come to know and love? Just check a few things and not only is your car going to be ready to face Jack Frost, but you are going to be as well.
- Windshield wipers. If you can't see, you can't drive. Replace your windshield wipers and the fluid in your washer reservoir. You don't want to use old blades (which can easily break in the cold) and you don't want to use water for your window washer fluid since it can freeze solid in the reservoir.
- Check glass. Check for any cracks or divots in your windshield or windows. The temperature fluctuations your glass experiences during the winter can end up making small cracks or dings become major problems where you cannot see or something even more dangerous. If you find any, have the glass repaired or replaced.
- Tune up. Now would be the perfect time to get your car tuned, especially if you have already reached (or are near) the 30,000 mile mark.
- Flush. With winter approaching, take the time to have your coolant system flushed and then replace the coolant. The best kind of coolant is antifreeze, since it can help protect your car.
- Battery. Make sure that your battery fluid levels are correct and that there is still a charge being produced by the battery. This is also a good time to clean the terminals. If the battery is not producing a charge, or it is more than four years old, consider replacing it.
- Tires. Cold weather makes things shrink, including tires. You can actually lose one pound of pressure for every ten degrees that the thermometer drops. Check all your tires (including your spare) at least once a week for proper inflation. Also be sure that you know your state's laws regarding studded snow tires if you are thinking of purchasing a set. If you have chains, make sure that they fit properly.
- Electrical. Make sure your car's electrical system is working properly. This includes the battery and all of the lights (not just the headlights and taillights). If something doesn't work properly, replace them.
- Heater and defroster. Stay warm in your car. Test your heater and defroster system before it gets too cold and, if necessary, have these systems fixed.