Car Winterizing, Get Ready Now Before Winter Blows in
The best thing to do is schedule an appointment for a full tune up. Get your spark plugs, water pump, distributor, brakes, heater, windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid supply, defroster and other parts checked to make sure they are all in working order. Replace any worn or cracked belts before they break down. But you can also do most of car winterizing on your own.
The first thing to check is the anti-freeze. Most anti-freezes are an ethylene glycol based fluid that has a low freezing point when mixed with water and a high boiling point. For this reason it makes an excellent coolant for our vehicles. Most times it is a nice bright green color, but it can be either black or red. The red should not be confused with Dex -Cool anti-freeze used in General Motor’s products. Dex-Cool is a special anti-freeze that GM uses and is rated to last 10 years or 100,000 miles before requiring a change. It is NOT compatible with other anti-freezes and should never be mixed with them.
Use gas line antifreeze at least twice a week during the extremely cold weather. Use gas line antifreeze with isopropyl alcohol it is compatible with today’s computer controls and fuel injection systems.
Your battery may be working now but you don’t want any surprises on a cold winter day; be sure to have it examined by a professional. You can take your battery to your local auto parts store; most will check your battery for free. For routine care on your own, scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean and tighten all connections. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves and eye protection when caring for your battery.
Be sure to have your tires checked. Air pressure in tires decreases in cold weather. A lower pressure affects your ride and safety. Examine tires for cuts, nicks or uneven wearing. All-season tires in good condition will have enough road-gripping treads to be dependable during the winter. But if you live in a snowy climate or travel often in winter, you may want to invest in snow tires.
Make sure your washers are in good working order and filled with washer solvent. Most washer solvents are good to about 10 below zero. For most parts of the country this is good enough. Chances are you haven’t changed your wiper blades in a while. There are special blades you can purchase for winter weather. The winter blades are covered with a rubber boot to keep ice, water and snow from freezing on the pivot points. This insures that the blade can flex and make good contact with the windshield to keep it clean.
If you get hopelessly stuck and your engine will still run, make sure the tail pipe is well clear and free of snow and ice. Stay in the car until help arrives. If you find yourself feeling drowsy, get out of the car and walk around. Open the windows on your vehicle to clear out the old air and let fresh air in. Never leave your heater in the recirculation position for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Stash items like these in your car: flashlight, flares, gas-line antifreeze like HEET and lock de-icer, window de-icer, small shovel incase you get plowed in, fully charged cell phone and/or change for a pay phone, first aid kit with high-energy snacks and utility knife, bottled water, jumper cables, extra winter clothing, including scarf, gloves, socks, boots and hat plus a blanket or two, sand or cat litter to help get you out if you get stuck you can put it on the ground around the tires, ice scraper and brush.
Car winterizing is something everyone needs to do. No one wants to be stuck when the snow and wind are blowing and temperatures are freezing. Get ready now and you will be better prepared for what ever winter may dish out.