Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Keeping Your Auto Winter Ready
Keeping Your Auto winter Ready
The H Team
Taking a few moments to check a few things can prevent being stranded or in need of a service truck.
Clean the battery with warm water. Remove the terminals and wire brush them and the battery posts with warm water and baking soda. Reattach the terminals and coat all exposed metal with petroleum jelly. You're not done yet–using some sort of household cleaner, clean all traces of dirt and oil from the battery's top and sides, particularly near the terminals. Traces of dirt can trap moisture, especially during damp winter days. This moisture acts as a conductor along a path that normally doesn't conduct electricity at all, and can leak enough current between the battery posts to prematurely drain your battery. In fact, consider replacing your battery if it's more than 4 years old. Newer cars tend to use smaller batteries to reduce weight and improve mileage, and, combined with high under hood temperatures, that spells an earlier demise than you may have gotten 10 to 15 years ago.
Check all light bulbs and replace any that aren't working. The days are short during the winter, and you'll depend on these bulbs for visibility a much larger proportion of the day. Check all turn signals, brake lights and headlights. It's also a good time to check your headlights alignment too.
Windshield Wipers are essential for winter driving, and after a summer of sunshine, the rubber squeegees are probably in sorry shape. Play it safe and replace them. Be sure the wiper arms and springs are in good shape, and that the blade is held square to the windshield surface. You may need to bend it slightly to keep everything square. Make sure your fluid level is full and that the washer solvent your using is safe for the low temps in your area.
Check the date on the coolant. (Remember many new cars have extended drain intervals–but not permanent coolant. Read the owner's manual.) If it's due to be replaced, use a 50-50 mix of fresh coolant and water.
These few easy to follow tips can help reduce any problems with your automobile during the extreme cold of St. Louis winters.