School has started and your car is logging a whole lot of miles between drop off, work, pick up and after school activities. Winter is on its way, so here are some ways to keep your car tuned up so that it keeps humming along, bringing your family to the places you need to be.
1. Check Your Battery
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The best way to make sure your battery is functioning properly is to have it checked using professional equipment. Check out Get Assist to find a qualified local mechanic. Keep an eye out for corroded posts and cable connections, they can be a sign that your battery needs to be replaced.
2. Change Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers take a beating in cold snowy weather. Make sure you change yours at least once a year. Buy a wiper that’s more durable and heavy duty if you live in a climate with harsh winter weather.
You’ll also want to make sure your wiper fluid is full. It’s easy to use it up while trying to clear your windshield of ice. If you live in a cold climate you can find wiper fluid with a little antifreeze mixed in so it doesn’t turn to ice on you.
3. Make Sure Your Car has the right amount of antifreeze
Antifreeze keeps your car running when freezing temperatures set in. There should be a half water, half antifreeze mixture in your radiator at all times.
If the mix is off it can cause a myriad of problems. Your antifreeze levels can be tested with a standard antifreeze tester, available for purchase at most auto parts stores.
4. Check Your Tire Pressure
According to the Boston Globe, “Tire pressure (per square inch) drops between one and two pounds for every 10-degree decrease in temperature.” Therefore, it is essential to check your tire pressure as temperatures drop. The air pressure inside your tires affects more than you think. Tires that are under inflated can cause a blow out, and negatively affect the fuel economy of your vehicle. Tires that are under inflated will also wear out earlier than those kept at optimum pressure.
Luckily, tire pressure is easy to adjust. Use a manual or digital tire gauge to compare your tire pressure with the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, found in your owner’s manual. Add more air to your tires if you need to. Check your pressure levels every month during the winter.
5. Prepare a Winter Toolkit for Your Car
Gather all the tools you’ll use daily during the winter months. Include items like an ice scraper, and a shovel to clear your driveway. You may also want to gather a safety kit in case of an emergency with blankets, flashlights, gloves, boots, snacks and water bottles. Don’t let winter weather catch you or your car off guard.