Winter is quickly approaching, which means that now is the perfect time to make sure that your vehicle is in prime working condition. The last thing you want to do is have to have your car serviced during the winter months. This checklist will help you make sure that your vehicle is completely prepared for winter:
1. Check your heating. While it might still be warm enough during the day that you are not relying on your heater very much, in about a month, you will start to need to use your heater every single day, just to keep your vehicle comfortable. This makes right now the perfect time to make sure that your heating system is working properly. Turn it on and if it smells funny or seems to stutter to a start, take it in to our maintenance department to have your system cleaned out and maintained.
2. Check your wiper blades. The heat of the summer can do serious damage to the rubber blades of your windshield wipers. If you have not gotten new blades in the last six months, now is a really good time to replace them. You might even want to consider getting wiper blades that are specifically designed to deal with heavy snowfall. These blades are thicker and more durable, so they can sweep snow off of your windshield, making it even easier to clean off your car.
3. Check your lights. As winter approaches, the days are going to shorten. You might find yourself driving to work in the dark and home from work in the dark. You might never have occasion to get in your car without also needing to turn on your headlights. This makes it more important than ever before to make sure that your lights are still bright. Your vehicle will probably alert you when one or more of your lights are going to die, but there is no harm in checking your lights and replacing the bulbs if they are not sufficient.
4. Check your tires. Winter in most areas of the United States means heavy snowfall, which can mean dangerous driving conditions, especially if your tires are worn. If you have a set of snow tires, now is the time to put them on your vehicle, rather than waiting until the first heavy snow of the year. Alternatively, if you have all-season tires, now is a good time to make sure that they still have enough tread to be functional. Bald tires can be dangerous even on perfectly dry roads but they will certainly lead to more slipping and sliding when the roads are packed with snow and ice.
5. Check your brakes. You want to have reliable brakes coming into the winter season, when you are probably going to be relying on them more than ever before. Your braking system is the most important safety feature on your vehicle. If you have not had it checked recently or you are starting to hear squealing or feel rocking or shaking when you brake, have a professional look at your brakes and replace any of the components if they are not working properly or have bene worn down.
6. Keep your tank full. While it’s unlikely that it is going to get cold enough to freeze the gas in your tank, it is always a good idea to keep your tank above half full. This will prevent moisture from getting into any of your line and freezing, which could cause them to burst and require you to make costly repairs. Plus, it means you will never be short on gas if you ever find yourself sitting in traffic on cold, snowy highways where there are few chances to get off and get gas if you are low.
7. Check your battery. Batteries are more prone to die during the winter, which means that you should check to make sure that yours is in good health as winter starts to approach. You can often have your battery checked for free at auto parts stores, but if you want to have it checked by someone you trust, bring your vehicle to our maintenance department. If it is not putting out the right voltage, it is a good idea to have your battery replaced as soon as possible. You do not want to be stranded on a snowy evening with a vehicle that will not start.
8. Make sure you have your cold weather essentials. These are your jumper cables, flashlight, snow brush, and ice scraper. These are the items that you need to make sure that your car will turn on and is safe to drive, even if your battery does die. It is very important for you to have a snow brush and ice scraper. While your windshield wiper blades and defroster can do plenty to clear your windshield, only these tools can really allow you to make sure your car is completely clean and safe to drive.
9. Stock a few bottles of water, a blanket, and nonperishable snacks, just in case. You never know when you might be stuck somewhere with your car and cannot leave for a few hours. It might be on the highway, behind an accident up ahead or your car might get mired in a snow drift and you have to wait for someone to come pull or dig you out. In this instance, you will want to have some snacks, water, and a blanket to keep you warm in your vehicle.
Come visit us or one of our sister dealerships in Burlington or Allentown!