Motorists in most of the country face severe weather conditions for at least part of the winter. The thought of a breakdown, an engine not starting or otherwise being stranded is stressful as it is, but those things happening in freezing weather add another level of threat. An investment of an hour or so to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and stress of a breakdown during harsh weather.
Battery – Very cold temperatures will reduce a vehicle’s battery power, so it’s important to keep the connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Unfortunately, batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely. If your vehicle’s battery is more than three years old, it’s wise to replace it.
Antifreeze – The typically-recommended mixture of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside most vehicles’ radiator is 50:50. When properly mixed, antifreeze provides excellent anti-boil, anti-freeze and anti-corrosive properties. Coolant should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, don’t make the mistake of adding 100 percent antifreeze.
Oil – Change to low-viscosity oil, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. Drivers in sub-zero driving temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
To make sure your car is ready for the road this winter, visit the Car Care Council’s Web site at www.carcare.org and check out the popular digital Car Care Guide.
Car Care Council
From the Jan. 20-26, 2010 issue