It's the perfect time to get under the hood before winter takes effect. Here are four C's to get your vehicle ready for the colder weather: Check, Change, Carry and Clean. Follow these tips, and you’ll stay on the road and off the side of it.
The Four Cs:
√ Lights – Headlights, taillights, turn signals, reverse lights and horn.
√ Tire Wear – Not just the tread but also any sign of uneven wear. That may mean you have a suspension or alignment problem.
√ Leaks – Check under the hood and where you park your car for any signs of leaks. These should be repaired as soon as you notice them.
√ Fluids – Check the 9 vehicle fluids, including power steering, brake, transmission fluid, engine oil, antifreeze and filters.
√ Air Filter – Change air filters every 12,000 miles or every 6 months. It’s easy to do it yourself! This will give you better fuel economy and performance.
√ Battery – If you are having trouble starting your car, it may be the battery. Have it checked. Cold temps are hard on a fully charged battery, but they can prevent a weak one from even starting. If your battery is four years or older, have it tested.
√ Tire Pressure – check for the proper pressures against the door placard.
√ Brakes – do you hear a squeal when you stop or a brake light is on your dash? Have your brakes checked, you need new brake pads Now is the time – not when it is too late!
√ Winter Wiper Blades – the protective sleeve will help keep the blade on your windshield. Replace blades every 6 months.
√ Winter Washer Fluid – de-icer washer fluid will make your life easier on those real bad days. It has a yellowish color instead of the blue stuff.
√ Snow tires – even if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, winter tires are your safest way to travel in bad weather. They are designed for cold weather driving. All season tires don’t offer the best traction in the snow. Worn tires can be even more dangerous with winter weather, switching to an all season tire will ensure the safety of you and your family.
Carry these items in your trunk in a box or duffel bag.
- Jumper cables – or jump box
- Tire chains – required in mountainous areas
- Tire inflatation product
- First aid kit
- LED Light Source and safety triangle
- Protein bars or food
- Bottled water
- Snow brush with ice scraper
- Blanket for every passenger
- Hand and feet warmers
- Cell phone charging cable
- Paper towels and glass cleaner
- Extra washer fluid
- Work Gloves, duct tape, zip ties and basic tools
√ Clean and wax your vehicle at least once a week
√ Windshields, back window and side windows, headlights and taillights.
√ Remove snow from the top and hood of your car.
And remember the secret to a safe fall and winter: See and be seen!
(Additional articles on car care during harsh winter months are available on our website. You can also order a copy of my book, "Lauren Fix's Guide to Loving Your Car").
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
Lauren is the National Automotive Correspondent for Newsmax TV, a conservative news network carried in 23 countries and in over 35 million U.S. cable/satellite homes. She is also The Weather Channel and Inside Edition’s auto expert. Lauren Fix serves as a juror for the esteemed North American Car & Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY).
Lauren is The Car Coach columnist for Parade Magazine and eBay Motors and writes a weekly column. She also appears weekly on USA Radio’s DayBreak USA.
Lauren is the president and founder of Automotive Aspects, Inc., a consulting firm with a wide range of multi-media services, including media consulting, broadcast messaging strategy, public relations and television production.
Lauren is the author of three books: most recently, Lauren Fix’s Guide To Loving Your Car with St. Martins Press, Driving Ambitions: A Complete Guide to Amateur Auto Racing, and The Performance Tire and Wheel Handbook.
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