Whether delivering food or packages as a delivery driver or a household that owns a motor vehicle, it’s time to think about preparing your vehicle for winter as outside temperatures start to drop.
For some of you, the process of preparing your vehicle for cold weather is familiar – you are the DIY pro! For the majority of us, we may need some help and guidance on what to do. Here is a quick list of things to do to get your vehicle ready for the cold weather. It’s better to be prepared, than get caught off guard and find yourself in trouble along the roadside. We don’t want that to happen!
1. Keep up with your manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule
Schedule an appointment with your local shop to get your vehicle inspected for proper fluid levels, fluid changes if necessary, and any parts that need to be replaced. Maintenance schedules are based on total miles on the vehicle.
For example, if you own a Honda Accord with 52,000 miles, the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is as follows:
- Check and replace fluids
- Oil and filter change
- Inspect tire treads and pressure
- Rotate tires
- Brake inspection
- Lubricate throttle linkage
While the vehicle is on the lift, the service center will also inspect vehicle components such as belts, hoses and other items typically referred to as a multi-point inspection.
2. Tire Inspection
Although tires are not cheap, the are the only point of contact between you and the road. It’s critical to have your tires inspected and replaced if necessary. A visual inspection of the tire tread depth can determine if your tires need to be replaced. To perform this simple inspection, take a penny and place it upside down in your tire’s tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time to replace your tires. Also, you will want to inspect your tires for dry rot, as old tires become brittle and lose elasticity.
Check your tire pressure on all four tires with a Tire Gauge. Tires should be properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s specification which can be found on a label inside the driver’s front door. There will be the proper amounts of pressure for front and rear tires indicated on the label.
3. Get Yourself an Emergency kit
Hopefully you will never have a need for such a kit, but in the unlikely event you do, it will come in handy. You can buy pre-packaged emergency winter kits for your vehicle, but it might be less expensive if you put one together on your own:
- thermal blanket
- few bottles of water
- dried food such as trail mix, a candy bar or some jerky
- gloves, socks, boots
- Small shovel
- Fully charged spare cellphone (even with no plan you can still dial 911 for help and get through)
- Car charger
- Jumper cables
- Emergency reflector triangle
- Candle with matches
- Bag of sand or salt to aid traction in a pinch
- First aid kit
4. Check Vehicle Fluids – DIY
Starting out, make sure your windshield-washer fluid is topped off and keep an extra gallon in your trunk. Having a clear view of the road contributes to safe vehicle operation. Also have the other five important automotive fluids checked – gasoline (another easy one), oil, coolant, transmission and power-steering fluids.
5. Battery Check
Cold weather has an impact on batteries. Car-battery capacity is reduced as temperatures plummet, so if you have an old battery, have it checked out. You or a mechanic can look for cracks, holes or corrosion around the positive and negative terminals. Make sure battery cables are well connected. If your battery isn’t sealed and your fluid is low, pour in some distilled water. If you experienced a few dead batteries recently, bite the bullet and just get a new one. It’s a small price to pay for assurance you won’t be stranded and have to call roadside assistance.
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