Winter is closing in on us slowly and it is that time of year. Time to get your vehicle ready to take on the severe winter that Chicago is so delightfully known for. That includes getting a tune up and packing up your emergency car kit. I will go over a few more things you can do to make sure your car is ready for winter. For those of us who know, Chicago’s winters are cold, blustery, and snowy! You have to be ready to take on the cold, ice, and snow. If you are unprepared, it will not be fun. Follow these few simple things and you will be ready to take on the cold!
Winter Weather Checklist
Check Engine Coolant: Engine coolant is designed to keep you engine from over heating as well as protecting it form corrosion. Prior to the temperature dropping it is smart to make sure you have the right mixture of anti freeze and water.
Get an Oil Change: It is no longer necessary to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles. Although it is wise to make sure you have had an oil change recently. When the outside temperature changes your engine works harder and it’s important to have less viscous oil to avoid added stress on your engine.
Check your Battery: The winter weather causes start ups to require more power and thus your battery needs to be able to handle the extra draw. Extreme cold can reduce battery life by up to 50%. Check the connections and make sure they are free of corrosion. If you are unsure of your battery’s condition, your local mechanic can test it for you.
Inspect your Tires: Good tires are important to have the winter, not only for traction but safety as well. You need to make sure tires are properly inflated and check the pressure bi-weekly. This will ensure the best tracking possible in rain, snow, and ice. If you are able, purchase a set of snow tires. The better condition your tires are in the more capable you are of safely stopping in severe weather conditions.
Check Fluids, Belts, Hoses, and Windshield Wipers: This is something your local auto repair shop can look at quickly for you. Cold temperatures put added stress on these components so it is important to have them checked out by a professional prior to winter setting in. Often overlooked are washer fluid and windshield wiper blades. Don’t forget to make sure you have plenty of washer fluid and wiper blades that are in good working order. On extremely cold nights, prop your blades off your car to reduce damage from ice buildup.
Heat and Defroster: Winter weather is difficult enough without the extreme cold. Make sure your heater is working and that you can defrost your windows safely. These repairs can become costly; we recommend having this checked out in the summer, so you have some extra time to plan for repairs.
Make an Emergency Car Kit: In case of emergency it is always a good idea to have a few things packed to make your wait a little more bearable. Your kit should include a flashlight, blankets, flares, ice scraper and brush, first aid kit, jumper cables, and some high protein snacks like nuts or jerky. Being prepared is key.
Don’t Get stuck in the Cold Unprepared
Follow these few suggestions and you are well on your way to staying safe on the winter roads. As always, if you need help winterizing your vehicle bring it by Spotlight Automotive. We will be happy to help get your car ready for winter. Be safe, stay warm, and have fun this winter season!