Winter is quickly approaching, and before you know it, we’ll be ankle-deep in snow trying to make a grocery run, unsure if our car will make it 5 feet let alone 5 miles. To prevent such a scenario and all around unpreparedness, we have put together a straight-forward winter vehicle maintenance checklist so you’re ready to go regardless of how harsh the winter road conditions may be. After all, the last thing any of us need is being stranded at 2 AM in freezing temperatures due to a dead battery.
The Parrish Law Firm’s Winter Car Maintenance Checklist:
1. Wiper Blades
When was the last time you changed your windshield wipers? We can speak for most drivers when we say windshield wipers are not something we think about all that often. It turns out that maybe we should. According to our friends over at RainX, you should check on the health of your wipers as early as 6 months after installing a new set. That’s right, the recommendation to replace wipers is typically every 6 to 12 months, not when you can’t see out of your windshield anymore.
2. Check Your Lights
Have you ever been caught in a snowstorm with no working headlights? We have. Take it from us, you do not want to be in such a situation. With the sun setting earlier and earlier, this is the time of year we rely on our vehicle’s headlights the most. Also, changing your car’s lights in an emergency scenario is definitely not fun when your nose can’t stop running, your face feels like it’s going to crack from the freezing temperatures and your fingers can hardly move because of the cold!
3. Fluid Top-Up
By now, you have likely driven down the highway after a snowstorm only to find your windshield covered in salt and sand debris from the snow treatments applied to the road (yeah, we know…the worst isn’t it?). If so, then you will understand the need for your windshield wiper fluid to be fully topped off prior to entering snow season. Aside from keeping your wiper fluids full, be sure to keep your gas tank as full as possible as well. You never know when you may get stranded with only your car to keep you warm. We recommend filling up your tank whenever it goes below the half-way mark.
4. Oil Change
Dropping temperatures can wreak havoc on your car’s engine. Motor oil thickens in colder temperatures, making it more difficult for your engine to turn over. Be sure to get your oil changed on time, and while you’re at it, you may want to consider replacing your oil filter and having your coolant, brakes and tire air pressure checked. You might even consider confirming that the oil your auto shop uses is winter-friendly.
5. Tire Check
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No one wants to spin out into other vehicles, ditches or worse while driving on slick roads. If your tires are worn, get them replaced before any snowy weather. If you’re unsure whether you need new tires, here’s a little trick for you: Grab a penny and put Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves of your tire. If you are able to see all of President Lincoln’s head, it may be time for new tires; however, if the penny goes deep enough to Lincoln’s forehead, your tires are likely safe and may not need replacing. Of course, to get the best picture of your tire’s health, go to your local mechanic or tire shop.
6. Test Your Battery
Last, but not least, check your battery. Much like us at the Parrish Law Firm, batteries have a more difficult time running efficiently in cold weather. A weak battery could result in a dead battery once temperatures begin plummeting. We recommend asking your local auto-shop or mechanic to run a quick diagnostic check on your battery. This will give you the clearest picture of whether you require a new battery or if you can survive the season with the one you’ve got!
Winter brings on icicle-inducing weather that makes it difficult for our vehicles to run optimally. We use this maintenance checklist every year to ensure our vehicles are safe and ready for use before any snowstorms or ice that the winter brings with it. Doing this quick maintenance check is definitely better than getting stranded in the middle of 66 because of a failed part due to the outdoor temperature. Finally, please be sure to keep some flares, gloves, an ice scraper, blanket and perhaps a portable phone charger in your vehicle in the event of an emergency. Click here for our Winter Driving Safety Tips.
We hope you stay safe and enjoy the wonderful winter weather! If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another person, contact us at (571) 229 – 1800 for a free legal consultation.