With the forecast for later in the week calling for a chance of precipitation and some of the coldest temperatures in the area this winter, there are several things motorists can do to make sure their vehicles are ready for the winter driving season.
One of the first steps that should be taken is to bring your car in to be serviced for the colder temperatures, said Justin Brown, owner of Hassler’s Auto in Smithton.
“It really is a good idea to get your car serviced before each season but especially spring and winter,” Brown said. “Those two seasons seem to have the most drastic changes in temperature and conditions so it’s a good idea to get everything checked out to keep your vehicle in good running condition.”
Brown said the most common things either a professional or do-it-yourself mechanic should look for on the vehicle include the belts, tires, hoses and fluid levels.
Even things as basic as the windshield wiper blades and wiper fluid should be checked, Brown said.
“This time of year people come in to have their antifreeze checked probably more than any other time of the year,” Brown said. “It’s important now because it keeps the radiator and block from freezing solid.”
Brown said it is a good idea to warm up the vehicle before driving to make sure the oil and other fluids are flowing adequately.
“New cars warm up much faster than the older models,” Brown said. “About 10 to 15 minutes is all it should take to warm the car properly and it’s always important to remember to never warm a car in an enclosed space; always put up the garage door to allow for ventilation.”
The tires should also be looked at with the changing temperatures.
“Most of the newer models have lights or sensors that let you know when the tire pressure isn’t right,” Brown said. “For most cars the tires should be kept between 32 to 35 pounds.
“It’s not a bad idea to keep a tire gauge with you to check, especially if the tires look low,” he added.
Brown also recommended keeping some other basics in the vehicle for winter driving.
Some of the items Brown listed include antifreeze, blankets and an ice scraper and window de-icer.
“People don’t think about it but keeping a can of WD-40 with you is a good idea too,” Brown said. “As long as you can get to it, it can really be useful to thaw a frozen lock.
“Of course, it won’t do you much good if it’s in a locked car and the locks are frozen,” he added with a slight chuckle.
Brown suggested putting sandbags or a weighted item in the bed of a truck to keep weight in them.
Brown also recommended having the number of a towing service in your car or phone.
“If the conditions are so bad that you were to be in an accident or slide off the road, it probably really is best to have someone tow the vehicle,” Brown said. “A lot of time people can do more damage to the vehicle if they try to pull the car out on their own.”
Brown also recommended having the vehicle checked by a mechanic to make sure there is no hidden damage to the vehicle that may not appear immediately.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484