Like the human body, preventative maintenance in cars often means the difference between safe and healthy travel and catastrophe, particularly during winter driving conditions.
Here’s the second in a series provided the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to held drivers prepare and participate safely in winter driving conditions.
Stocking your vehicle is appropriate supplies for the season of the first priority.
Carry the following items:
* Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
* Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
* Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.
* Blankets for protection from the cold.
* A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.
Prepare for winter travel with maintenance checklist
* Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and other routine maintenance.
* Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.
* For gasoline or diesel engines, be aware that it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in cold weather than in warm weather.
* Have your mechanic check your battery for sufficient voltage, amperage and reserve capacity.
* Have the charging system and belts inspected.
* Replacing the battery or making system repairs, including simple things like tightening the battery cable connections.
* Make sure to fresh gasoline in a hybrid-electric vehicle, to support the gasoline engine.
* Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and that it’s designed to withstand the winter temperatures you might experience in your area.
* See your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations on coolant. A 50/50 mix of coolant to water is sufficient to avoid freezing in most regions of the country.
* Thoroughly check the cooling system for leaks or have your mechanic do it for you.
* Check to see if your coolant has been replaced by draining the system and replacing the coolant at the manufacturer’s recommended interval.
* Have the coolant tested for proper mix, proper pH (acidity) and strength of the built-in corrosion inhibitors.