Fall is already here! Old man Winter is right around the corner, are you prepared? This article is how to prepare your vehicle for the cold weather.
Check your glass on your car(s) Is it cracked or broken? Do you have glass coverage on your car? (It’s usually only a couple of dollars extra on your car insurance to cover it.) As the weather gets colder the cracks and breaks can spider out and create a vision issue. It’s not only that, but it’s dangerous and illegal to have a cracked/broken window. If something hits your glass and it’s broken it can shatter and cut you, cause harm to your eyes, or hurt someone else. Please replace ANY broken glass right away.
Every vehicle should have new wiper blades every 6 months. They just don’t make them like they used to. I buy 2 sets of wipers to have. I replace the old pair and keep the other new ones in case the old ones go bad. If you drive your car a lot for commercial reasons, you might just want to buy them in bulk to have and replace as you need them. The reason I recommend this is because I saw how many times, while working in the auto parts store, people wait until it’s snowing, freezing rain or regular rain to replace them and the store may run out. Use common sense and bulk up. (If the vehicle is new enough may not have the wipers available yet, you’ll have to get them from the dealer – especially the rear ones.)
Do you use the blue washer fluid or one like RainX? Well, if it gets cold enough the blue washer fluid can freeze solid. I like using the orange RainX because it beads up the water on the glass and prevents snow from freezing as I’m driving along. (I also use the sprayable one on the outside mirrors and glass to keep them free of snow, sleet and ice. It’s a type of wax so snow slides off of the glass.) Prestone also carries these products as well.
Have the garage flush out your coolant and check the pressure in your cooling system. Any leaks can cause a break in the lines, radiator or other places. If your water pump craps out, you will have no heat! You have to have heat to clear the windows and stay warm going from place to place. I always check my owner’s manual to make sure the right coolant is put into the system. Some oil change places may flush the coolant but not put the right stuff in and it can effect the car’s coolant system. (If you don’t know what type it is because it’s in technical language call the parts department at the dealer and ask them what it is exactly.)
Have your tires checked and replaced if necessary. They can get dry rotted from the heat of the summer and the hot roads or from sitting for long periods of time, which means the tires can go bad from the inside out and if it looks dried and cracked on the outside just replace them. If they have NO TREAD, replace them. You will get no traction on the road and can cause the car to veer off the road or cause a crash because you can’t stop!
Have the charging system checked. Go to a local parts store that offers FREE SERVICES to check your battery and alternator. Have them check to see if there’s a date on the battery and if it’s 5 years or longer – I believe – you should change the battery or it can die on you in the cold. The cold can kill batteries very quickly. (If it lasts you 5 years consider yourself lucky as they usually don’t last that long.)
You need the mirrors on the car to see other vehicles on the other side and behind you. If they are broken – especially the driver’s side or you have no mirror – get it replaced! You can go to a junk yard to get another mirror for the car or if the glass is just broken, call a glass shop. They can order and have a mirror for you in a short period of time and can put it on the car for you.
HEADLIGHTS AND LIGHTS
Are your headlights working or do you have lights on the vehicle that don’t work? Well, you will need the headlights to see so you should replace all burned out bulbs. You can visit a local parts store to see if they have the bulb and can maybe change it for you. (Please keep in mind that not all stores and vehicles can have the lights replaced because they are too hard to get at or require a specialist to dismantle parts of the car to replace them. (If the vehicle is new enough may not have the bulbs available in the store yet so check with the dealer.)
DEICING CAR LOCKS
I asked a locksmith about this – especially in winter. If you use a liquid deicer, it could freeze up in the lock and you may not be able to get the door free, so it was suggested to use powdered graphite. You put it on the key (if you have use a key to get in), put it in the lock and lock/unlock the doors several times. Also works for key ignitions as well. It will not hurt anything but it is messy.
If you have a fob to open the door with and the door is frozen shut, please get some silicone, put it on a cloth and wipe where the door connects with the frame of the car. Sometimes when your door gets wet with rain, freezing rain, sleet or snow it will freeze the doors closed.
If you have an auto start device to start your vehicle, use the low setting and set it for people not glass and once it warms up you can open it up, shut the auto start off and start the car to go. (Do not use the HIGH setting when defrosting the glass with the auto start as you can shatter the glass going from one temperature to another.)
** The law clearly states that if your wipers are on, it’s foggy, cloudy, raining, snowing, freezing rain or sleet…ALL LIGHTS must be on while you are driving! **