Driving in the winter is much different than driving any other time of the year. One thing to remember is to make sure you slow down. The mornings have freezing and roads are slick. If you are used to some habits you might have when driving, winter is the time to stop doing them, so you can ensure your vehicle is well maintained and working efficiently. Changing the windshield wipers is one of the easiest items to forget when it comes to car maintenance. Make sure to change the wipers as soon as they do not clear the windshield effectively anymore. If you notice that they smudge or make noises when they operate, it may be time to have them replaced. Windshield wipers are vital to your safety on the road; better wipers mean better visibility. Climbing into a freezing car is not fun, so you may resort to starting the vehicle and letting it warm up before driving. This is viable for a couple minutes; however, engines are not designed to idle for long periods of time. Idling for too long can cause a buildup on the spark plugs, rendering them less efficient. Not to mention, idling for long periods of time can also waste fuel. Tires tend to be a bigger issue in the winter due to compressed air that cooler weather brings. The air pressure in your tires is reduced by one pound per square inch every 10-degree drop in the temperature. It may be a good idea to keep an emergency maintenance kit in the car and include a portable air pump and pressure gauge. This can help you to ensure the tires are at the correct air pressure they should be at. Also remember to fill up the tank if it gets about half full. During the winter months, it’s better to fill up frequently as a near-empty tank can cause problems. Moist air in an empty tank can freeze and crystallize, leading to ice in the fuel lines. If you keep the tank filled, you will be able to drive incase of an emergency or in the middle of the night. If you ever have an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you.
Keeping your vehicle in top efficiency is important, this should include bringing it in for regular maintenance inspections. You should also contact us if you start to notice odd noises or sounds that your vehicle produces. By catching an issue at the first sign and fixing it, you can help to prevent further damage and wear and tear in the long run. If you notice a hissing noise under the hood in the engine, it could be an indication of a leak, either in the cooling system or a vacuum line. A leaking issue should not be ignored, because it can cause other issues to start to form with time. If a fluid leaks out completely, then the engine and other parts may start to fail. Another noise is if your vehicle clunks while driving over bumps or pot holes something is definitely out of order. Bad ball joints can cause uncivilized sounds, but other chassis components could be to blame as well. Even a loose exhaust system can flop round and make percussive noises. A clunk noise that is made consistently should be inspected as soon as possible. If your car’s engine is making a shrieking sound it could be an issue with the serpentine belt. Either the rubber has gotten old and brittle or the tensioner could be failing. If the latter is to blame the belt may not have the appropriate pressure applied to it, causing slippage and the noise. If there’s a screeching sound when you apply the brakes it’s a good chance the brake pads have reached the end of their useful lives. Many are engineered with small metal tabs that rub against the rotor when the friction material is worn away to a certain point. The squealing sound is an indication that it’s time for a brake job. If you notice the vehicle pull in one direction when you apply the brakes, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the brake system for you.
The radiator is an important part of your vehicle. If you start to notice an issue with your vehicle overheating, it may be caused by the radiator. In order to keep the internal engine temperature at a manageable level, coolant fluid flows around the engine block. When the temperature exceeds a certain point, the thermostat opens up, allowing coolant to flow into the radiator through an upper entry tube. A fan helps reduce the temperature of the coolant, and the fluid goes back into the engine through a lower exit tube. There could be some issues that cause your radiator to go out. A rusty radiator will soon overheat, causing major engine issues. If you see a brownish color in the coolant, that means the radiator is rusting from the inside. If enough rust spreads over the radiator, small holes will develop. Those small holes will turn into larger holes. to that extreme pressure buildup, the rubber hoses which connect the radiator to your engine will fail eventually. Plus, the metal hose clamps can also rust or loosen. Whenever hoses start to fail, leaks aren’t far behind. If your car has a sticky, slightly sweet-smelling green fluid on the ground, that’s an indication you’ve sprung a radiator leak. But hoses aren’t the only reason for leaks; radiator body rust is also another common cause of system leaks. A radiator doesn’t just overheat for no reason; underlying issues contribute to this major problem. Regardless, whenever your car’s engine temperature gauge spikes and you’ve entered the danger zone, pull over and check the coolant overflow tank. A small leak, a loose hose, low coolant level – the causes of overheating are numerous, but you shouldn’t drive with a hot engine. Also, keep in mind that overheating doesn’t necessarily indicate a radiator issue. The thermostat could be stuck, or the water pump may be bad, so make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you. This will help you to have a reliable vehicle when you will need to drive this winter.
With cold temperatures comes the chance for ice and snow to cover the surface of the roads. You will want to make sure that you know the weather conditions and the conditions of the roads when you travel. If either are less than ideal, then make sure to take your time and slow down. By taking your time, you can help reduce the chance of an accident or going in the ditch. The tires should be inspected regularly in the winter. They should be properly inflated to the amount determined in the vehicle owner’s manual. For every ten degrees the temperature drops, the tire pressure usually decreases by about one pound. Maintaining the proper tire pressure can help to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. It can also give you better traction on slippery roads. The tires should also be inspected so they have enough tread to grip the roads better with. You can test the amount of tread the tires have by taking a penny and placing it upside down in the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, the tread is extremely low. Another thing to do this winter is to watch the road as you drive. When driving in the winter, also watch the roads for any slick spots. Bridges and overpasses generally freeze before other parts of the pavement. If you notice that the road conditions are less than ideal, make sure to slow down to allow enough time, space, and handling of your vehicle. Only drive at a speed that you are comfortable at. If you start to notice poor handling with your vehicle or if it swerves, slow down to stay safe. Keep the windshield washer fluid topped off by using an antifreeze version in the winter. This can help to ensure the reservoir does not freeze and crack. It can also help to ensure that the washer pump will continue to operate properly when you might need it. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible.