How and when should I prepare my vehicle for winter?
With a cold winter on the horizon, Gary Jaffarian gives you his Top 10 list of what is most important to prepare your vehicle for winter and to avoid break-downs at the coldest time of the year.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac and weather analysts, we are in for a very cold winter. While last winter was mild with little snow, this winter will most likely have greater snowfall, but nothing close to the winter of 2015 with record-breaking snowfall. It’s been a mild autumn, but now is the time to get your vehicle ready for winter and to adapt to the cold mornings and nights.
1. Tires—Inflate at a different level for winter according to your manufacturer’s guidelines. When you see the dashboard symbol that looks like an explanation mark in parentheses, it means your tires are not inflated at the proper level. It’s also a good time to check the treads. Your tires are even more important in the winter.
2. Check your anti-freeze. Coolant systems that are not in the right proportion will lead to overheating due to freezing. Have the car’s coolant system flushed before the first freeze. You also need to check the system for leaks and install fresh coolant.
3. Check the heater. Confirm that your heater system works correctly and the core doesn’t leak, the blower works and the window defroster is operating.
4. Inspect the windshield wipers. Replace them if they are worn or have become hardened. You may want to invest in the heavy-duty blades that are for winter weather. Change the windshield wiper fluid with one that has antifreeze added to it.
5. Examine the car’s electrical system. Have a professional check the battery and charging system. The cold weather puts unusual demands on these systems.
6. Check your fluids. This would be done at each oil change and is done every season, but especially important in the winter. An older vehicle in an area that has temperatures that fall below freezing often uses 30-weight single viscosity oil. You need to go to a lower viscosity oil, like a 10-weight, when the temperature falls below zero and stays there. If you bring your vehicle to Department we will recommend the proper oil for your older model vehicle for winter. This also applies to your automatic transmission fluid. Higher weight oils and transmission fluids do not lubricate sufficiently in colder weather. (Newer vehicles use multi-viscosity oil such as 10 and 30 weights. This eliminates the need to change oil type.)
7. Check your brakes. Your tires and brakes are your most important safety features.
8. Don’t let your vehicle hit empty before you fill up. It is important in freezing temperatures to have gas in your tank at all times. It is also a good idea in general.
9. Carry emergency supplies. Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency kit in each vehicle. Include a flashlight, blanket, sand or salt and a snow/ice scraper, and drinking water.
10. Check the exhaust system. Fumes from a leaky exhaust system can quickly become fatal. Remember, never warm your vehicle up in the garage unless the door is completely open. If you have a garage, clean it out so you have room for your vehicle. It may eliminate the need to warm it up and helps protect the finish.
At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we have certified technicians who know how to prepare your vehicle for winter. We will be sure to take care of all of the above services. We even have a video system to show you what the technician sees while he works on your vehicle for maximum transparency. Our service advisors and technicians will carefully explain their findings to you—services recommended to be completed now and services that are needed but can wait.
For your convenience, you can book on line 24/7 or call us for Toyota Service at 888-355-1041; or for Volvo Service call 888-234-2851. You can wait in our comfortable waiting rooms while watching TV, using our WI-FI and sipping on a free Starbuck’s coffee; or we will get you where you need to be with our complimentary van service. The entire service experience focuses on you!
Let’s hope for a warm, mild winter! But if it isn’t, we know you’ll be safe in a vehicle properly serviced for the season.