Winter is quickly approaching here in Colorado, and the sometimes-wild weather and heavy snowfall can wreak havoc on your vehicle if you are not properly prepared for it. Late autumn is the perfect time to bring your car into your local 4×4 service center for a checkup, so that you can be confident by the time the temperatures drop and the first snow hits. Don’t wait until the last minute to address any nagging issues you’ve had with your vehicle, especially if you’ve had an active summer out on the trails, otherwise you might find yourself with major mechanical problems stranded in a blizzard!
It’s important to perform routine auto repair and maintenance throughout the year, but there are a few special things that need extra attention before the coldest months come. Here is a basic checklist to make sure your car or truck is performing at its best and can withstand the hazards of winter driving.
1. Windshield wipers
If you have a pair of winter windshield wiper blades, now is the time to get them installed. These are specially designed with a special rubberized frame to prevent icy buildup, and better distribute the pressure of ice and snow. Now is also a great time to switch your windshield fluid to a winter formula, which works at a lower temperature and prevents condensation.
Some people have a set of tires specially designed for winter driving, and any reputable 4×4 service center should have some in stock as well. Once the first snow arrives, it’s a good time to put on your winter wheels. But if you don’t have special winter tires, be sure to check your current tires for tread depth or any slow leaks. You can also purchase tire conditioner and sealant that you can apply yourself to keep the rubber soft and weather-resistant. Icy driving conditions and heavy snow are more challenging to your car, and you need good traction to stay safe.
Don’t get stuck out in the cold with a dead battery this winter, and have your local auto repair shop give it the once over. Look for cracks, leaks, and corrosion, and if you were considering a replacement, now is the season to do it. Cold temperatures make your car battery work harder, so be sure that you have one that is relatively new, in good shape, and compatible with your vehicle’s power needs.
Winter is notorious for poor visibility, and you’ll likely be relying on your headlights more than you did during any other season. Cutting through snow, sleet, and fog is crucial to safe and secure driving, whether you’re on a winding mountain road or a city street. Take the time to replace your headlights if they are older or getting dim, and choose a new light set that is higher powered and more energy efficient.
When the temperatures plummet, all the fluids in your vehicle will thicken, which can place more strain on your engine. Have your 4×4 service team check all your fluids, but especially your oil, to make sure they are fresh, topped-off, and have cold-weather resistant formulations.
6. Hoses and Belts
These car parts are usually made from rubber or a similar material, which is susceptible to temperature changes. Extreme cold can cause your hoses and belts to shrink or crack, potentially causing leaks or other damage. Ask your mechanic to check them out and replace any that look worn or frayed. This low-cost and quick upgrade can save you plenty of headaches later.