Monday, November 23, 2009

Have You Winterized Your Car Yet?

Trying to determine how bad the winter will be is close to impossible and counting the stripes on a wooly bear caterpillar is as helpful as watching your local weather forecast. Fortunately, Northeast Ohio hasn’t been bombarded by snow yet, but it’s just a matter of time before those chilly snowflakes start floating from the sky. Although you might think you have time to prepare your car for the winter, it’s important to get your car ready now.
Winterizing your car might be a foreign process to you, but if you take care of your car, it will take care of you. Gasoline as well as extra parts and labor for repairs are expensive, but if you follow the tips below, you can increase your mileage per gallon and preserve your car’s current parts for longer.

  • Test your battery when it’s nearing the end of its warranty. If you notice corrosion (rust or a white dust) on the battery terminals and cables, use a mixture of toothpaste, baking soda and water to remove it.
  • Examine your car's engine belt for cracks, frays and missing pieces. When you have a slipping belt, it prevents your battery from recharging properly.
  • Maintain a full tank of gas during the freezing weather. By running your gas tank down to the last drop before filling up, you risk the accumulation of moisture and ice in your fuel lines.
  • Check your air filter to see if it needs replaced. This is especially important in cars with a fuel-injected engine, because if the air filter is dirty, the sensor might call for more gasoline when it's really not needed.
  • Monitor your tires when the temperature drops, because they usually run low in cold weather. Don’t forget to make sure that your spare tire is filled up too.
  • Consider investing in snow tires. All-season radial tires do work well in snowy areas, but if you’re near the snow belt or are constantly commuting in the bad weather, snow tires will make your car a little safer.
  • Change your antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s specifications, because this liquid shields your vehicles cooling system.
It’s easy to hop in your car and go without checking any of these issues, but your neglect will catch up with you eventually. Keeping tabs on your car increases your safety, and it also improves your mileage and your car's longevity.


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