November 9, 1998
Get your vehicle ready for winter
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a nonprofit organization, supplied this information.
Automotive breakdowns, always inconvenient, can be deadly in harsh winter weather--so it's wise to prepare in advance with a maintenance check. Even if you live in a region with mild winters, routine service will help your vehicle last longer and run more efficiently.
- Motorists should read their owner's manual and get in the habit of following the manufacturer's recommended service schedules.
- Correct problems with hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc. before cold weather sets in.
- Make certain the heater and defroster are in good working condition.
- Check battery strength with professional equipment at a repair facility.
- Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.
- Have the exhaust system examined for leaks; the trunk and floor boards should be checked for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
- Check the condition of tires; don't drive on worn tires. Make sure the spare is okay and the tire jack is in good working condition.
- Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) as recommended, usually every 24 months.
- Check condition and tightness of belts and hoses.
- Check oil and oil filter as specified in owner's manual.
- Check and replace, if necessary, air, fuel and other filters.
- Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand.
- Carry emergency gear such as boots, gloves, blankets, a flash light, flares, a small shovel, sand or cat litter, and tire chains.
- Keep a few high-energy snacks in the glove box.