We have all heard the fable about the industrious little Ant that worked hard to prepare for winter and the not-so-industrious Grasshopper that didn’t heed the Ant’s warnings. The Ant knew what he was talking about. Being prepared was the key factor that helped him successfully weather a cold, hard winter.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to work very hard to get your car ready to handle winter’s weather. Like the Ant, be prepared. Fall is the right time to start by consulting your vehicle’s owner’s manual for any special instructions pertaining to your particular model. Check and follow your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule.
Before the winter winds bring in the arctic air, give your car the once over by checking:
- the antifreeze
- the battery and ignition system
- the brakes
- the exhaust system
- the fuel and air filters
- the heater and the defroster
- the lights, including the hazard lights
- the oil
- the thermostat
- the windshield wipers and wiper fluid
- the tires
Some items are “all weather” and only need to be checked to see if they are in working order. Other items, such as antifreeze, oil, and tires may need to be changed in order to be winter appropriate. The professionals at Carlson Toyota will be able to advise you.
After the check-up, lubricate the door locks and any other locking mechanisms on your vehicle. Take care of any scratches or dings so that road salt will not cause rust. A good waxing will help preserve the paint.
Any time of the year is a good time to have emergency items on hand. Winterizing your car means having a good spare tire and jack, jumper cables, a tool kit, a flashlight and extra batteries, a bag of salt or kitty litter, an ice scraper, a blanket, a brightly colored cloth, a first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone, and an extra fully charged cell phone battery. High-energy, non-perishable, and easy to open foods are great on all trips.
Ready to hit the road? Not so fast… Before you leave plan a route, and let “someone else” know about it. Make sure your gas tank is nearly full or full so that ice won’t develop in the tank or fuel lines.
Now you’re ready. Oh, and that route? Stick to it. If you must detour from it, notify “someone else”. You both will have peace of mind knowing that you have done everything within your power to make your winter drive as safe as possible.