The Importance of Auto Winterization

As winter storms begin to roll across the nation, it is a great time to perform some auto winterization to make your travels safer during the coldest months of the year. It does not cost much to winterize your auto, but it could cost you everything if you do not. The following are some timely tips for winterizing you auto this year.

Inspect and Maintain Tires and Brakes

Auto winterization starts with making sure you have good tires and brakes. The tires give you the traction to stop, while the brakes help to prevent loss of control. It is best to have a mechanic remove all four tires and inspect each tread for damage or excessive wear and tear.

Once you have four good tires, a balance and rotation will help to give you the best ride and traction. While the tires are off, your mechanic should inspect and maintain the brakes.

Check the Battery and Charging System

Lots of people wake up on the first very cold morning of the year and discover dead batteries in their vehicles. The colder it gets, the faster the car battery loses its charge.

Inspecting the battery and cables will help the engine to start every time. So will checking the alternator and making sure its belt is in good condition.

Make Sure All Lights Work

Winter has the longest nights and shortest days. You need to make sure all lights and turn signals work properly for the best safety. You might have to replace a bad bulb or two or replace a blown fuse or relay to get all lights and turn signals working.

Check the Wiper Blades and Washer Fluid

You need to be able to see to drive safely. That means having good wiper blades and washer fluid that will not freeze to the windshield during very cold travels.

You should check the blades and replace them if they show signs of cracking or are not moving precipitation off the windshield. You also should replace the washer fluid with a deicing agent that will help remove frost, ice, and snow.

Coolant and Thermostat

You need good antifreeze to prevent the engine block from freezing and cracking when parked in extremely cold temperatures. Flushing and filling the coolant will help to ensure the antifreeze is up to the task and the radiator, hoses, and clamps are working well.

You also could check the thermostat and install a hotter one that lets the engine get a little hotter before circulating the coolant. The hotter engine will blow hotter air through the heater and defroster.

Window Scraper and Emergency Kit

You need a window scraper with a brush attached to scrape the windows clean and sweep away snow and ice. You should also pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, blanket, and jumper cables. You also should keep some kitty litter and a shovel to get unstuck.