Let It Snow, But Make Sure Your Car Will Go!
I know very little about cars and car maintenance. One of the disadvantages of being divorced is that I'm now in charge of making sure my car stays in working condition. But aside from putting gas in it and having a little sticker in the windshield reminding me to get my oil changed, I don't have any idea of what I need to do to ensure I don't end up on the side of the road somewhere in the cold. In an effort to avoid this scary scenario, I thought it would be wise to reach out to an expert for some advice. Kevin Degler of Exhaust Pro, located on Boston Road in Lexington, was gracious enough to give us all some tips for keeping our cars running great this winter.
1.) Check your tire pressure. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive along — and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. (You can generally expect that you’ll lose 1 pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.) There is a white sticker on the left front door jamb that tells what your target tire pressure should be.
2.) Check your wipers. When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. Here’s another important step to take before you find yourself struggling to see in a blinding storm: Fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. (Plain water won’t do the trick at this time of year because it freezes.) Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.
3.) Check your battery. This is an ideal time of year to make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge. Granted, you might be able to find a Good Samaritan to help you jump-start your vehicle in the middle of a blizzard — but wouldn’t you rather avoid such a scenario altogether?
4.) Check your belts and hoses. When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a newer car. Cold weather can do a number on belts and hoses, so they deserve attention.
5.) Check your antifreeze. Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at ridiculously cold temperatures. It’s easy to check the status of the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed. Be sure you’re equipped to dispose of your old antifreeze properly if you do this job yourself. It can’t just be poured down the drain.
Now that I know what to do, I'm going to put these steps into action and I'll start by calling Kevin at Exhaust Pro at 859-223-9866!