As the national weather forecast starts to include the words ‘frost’, ‘freeze’ and ‘snow’ to describe the current weather conditions, the experts at AAMCO, the world’s largest chain of transmission specialists and leader in total car care, are offering the top six tips to help consumers prepare their vehicles for the harsh winter season ahead.
“The best way to keep a car or truck running safely and reliably is through routine preventative maintenance,” said AAMCO VP of Technical Support Bruce Chidsey. “We encourage drivers to take the cold winter months seriously and prepare their vehicles in advance to ensure that their car or truck is ready for winter weather. Taking a few simple, preventative steps can make all the difference between getting home safe and sound and being stranded on the side of a snowy road.”
The following are the top six ways to care for everything inside, outside and under the hood of your car or truck this winter:
1. Keep the Gas Tank at Least Half Full – Keeping a gas tank at least half full at all times will prevent moisture build up, which can freeze in the gas lines.
2. Check the Battery – Throughout the season, check the batter for dirt and grime. If it is dirty, disconnect the cables and scrub the battery with a mix of baking soda and water. When reconnecting, tighten the wires so they cannot wiggle. A vehicle’s battery begins to lose power in cold temperatures, so it is important to test the battery monthly or replace it if it has not been changed within the last two to three years.
3. Antifreeze is Your Friend – Check the fluid levels under the hood and top off as necessary. Antifreeze is a mix of 50-50 coolant to water. Do not use 100 percent coolant because when it freezes, it expands and could damage the engine block.
4. Check Tire Tread and Pressure – It is helpful to switch to snow tires during the winter for better traction on the roads. If this is not an option, then check the tire tread to see if the vehicle’s current tires need to be replaced. It is also especially important to check tire pressure because cold air lowers air pressure, making your drive less optimal, drains the fuel, and causes uneven tread wear.
5. Wash and Wax Frequently – A lot of grime and dirt collects on the ground during winter and gets kicked up onto your car and the undercarriage. Wash and wax your car frequently during this season to prevent salt from sticking to and rusting it.
6. Have an Emergency Car Kit – Stay prepared for anything that could happen by keeping an emergency car kit. An emergency car kit should consist of the following at a minimum:
• Ice scraper
• First-aid kit
• Extra clothes, including a hat, gloves and jacket
• Jumper cables/Portable car charger
• Phone charger