As you contemplate another season of Old Man Winter, now is a good time to make sure your truck or car is at its road-worthy-best for the months ahead. Here are seven tips to help you accomplish that.
Consider the battery. If yours is several years old, now’s the time to replace it. Don’t wait to make the purchase when a cold, blustery morning arrives and your truck won’t start. In addition, look for any loose or exposed wires and check that all connections are clean and tight.
“Checking a battery’s state of charge (SOC) is the best way to determine remaining useful life. A handheld battery and electrical system tester will allow you to diagnose bad batteries rapidly and precisely in a discharged state,” according to Overdrive.com.
Check wiper blades and cleaning fluid. Replace blades that are worn, and fill the tank that holds windshield washer fluid.
Evaluate tires. Worn tires can be a huge danger. Make sure yours have plenty of tread, and check the tire pressure frequently throughout winter.
If your tires can still handle some miles, then the next step would be to rotate them—swapping the front ones with the rear ones to ensure even wear, recommends Fuel & Friction.
Don’t go into winter with faulty brakes. Yes, replacing or repairing them could be a significant expense. But your safety, and perhaps even your family’s, depends on brakes that work well when you need them.
Change the oil. Also, consider “winter weight oil” if you live in a cold climate, which can eliminate rough starts and keep engines running smoothly.
Take a look under the hood. A quick inspection of the engine bay can reveal signs of components that need changing, topping off or fixing, according to Fuel & Friction. “Squeeze the hoses, look for leaks, cracks and loose clamps. Check the drive belts, accessory belts. Anything that has a spongy-feeling, sign of fraying or brittle look to it, needs to be replaced.”
Last but not least, do a general inspection of your vehicle. Are there rust spots or windshield pocks that need to be repaired? Are the lights, horn and flashers in good working order? Consider these and any other aspects of your vehicle that need to be addressed. While these tips might not take care of all your pre-winterizing needs, they’ll start you on the road to safer driving this winter.