Preventative maintenance now can help ensure worry-free driving this winter
The vacations are over, the kids are back in school and cooler evenings have begun. Take advantage of the lull to prepare your vehicle for the winter ahead. Breakdowns, never convenient, can be dangerous in cold weather period.
The following tips from Alternative Autoworx in Broomfield, Colorado should give parent and student alike a road map to fall car care.
First things first
Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules. There are usually two schedules listed: normal and severe.
Have engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.)diagnosed & corrected at Car Pros & Muffler Masters. Cold weather will make existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters: air, fuel, PCV, Cabin.
A gas tank that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming in the first place. Fuel injector & Fuel Induction services will keep you fuel delivery & combustion systems running at optimal productivity.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles or so) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. If all of the different information about oil change intervals confuses you call one of our service professionals and we can help you make a decision that fits you and your driving needs.
The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses as well as the condition of the hoses should be checked by one of our certified auto technicians.
The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent you’ll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. When we perform a new battery installation we scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections and install a corrosion inhibitor to keep build up from happening.
A word of caution for do it yourselfers:
Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves. Note too that removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles so refer to your manual for instructions.
Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Check your alignment every 6 months. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition. Also check the DOT’s on the sidewall for the age of your tire. If you don’t know how to do that then stop by our location and let us show you how.
Carry gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, a flashlight, and a cell phone. Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box.