Treat Her Like a Lady

Although you should treat your wife or girlfriend like a lady, that’s not what today’s post is about.  🙂  Instead, since winter weather is coming fast, we’ll be identifying some of the most important things you’ll want to do to prepare your vehicle for the cold days ahead.  By taking the time and effort to address these items before they become issues, you’ll save time, energy, frustration, and quite a bit of money!

The most important things to check are the:

  • Fluids (coolant, oil, windshield washer fluid, etc.)
  • Battery
  • Tires
  • Wipers

The Liquids

First, test and inspect your coolant and battery. Test your coolant with a hygrometer if you do not already know it to be good, and make sure all the other fluids are clean and full, or serviced if not.

Holding Your Electricity

A healthy battery is as important as the cooling system: one is like the skin, the other like blood. You can take and have your battery tested to be sure, but be careful, as you know there are plenty of places that would try to sell you a new one to replace your perfectly good old one. In general, you battery should be ok if all the following conditions are met:

  • It’s less than 3 years old
  • It looks good
    • not swollen (sides pushing out)
    • not leaking acid
    • not growing cauliflower on the terminals
    • it turns the engine over well after sitting overnight in the cold

If possible, it’s best to perform a load test on your battery, but if you can’t, these parameters should be a good rule of thumb.

Good Contact with the Pavement, Seeing the Road

Beyond that, a good pair of wiper blades, ensuring the tires are roadworthy (proper psi, tread depth) and a basic vehicle inspection are all any car really needs to survive the winter and its driving conditions. In my experience, there’s no such thing as too much maintenance, and your vehicle will thank you for it!

Be Prepared for the Worst

And finally, you need an emergency kit if you don’t already carry one–it’s always a good idea, and especially so if you’re traveling with kids.  Make sure your kit includes:

  • jumper cables
  • flares or warning triangles
  • blanket or sleeping bag
  • a warm hat and gloves
  • flashlight/lantern
  • first aid kit

Stay safe out there this winter, and make it a priority to get these things taken care of now, before it gets cold.  Your family and your pocketbook will thank you!

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