Winter has taken over, so if you haven’t completed your winter vehicle maintenance, there’s no time like the present. A thorough vehicle inspection and proper maintenance practices can help ensure smooth performance, even in sub-freezing temperatures. If you’re not quite sure what you should do to keep your vehicle functioning in top form this winter, at AA Auto Tech, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this brief winter maintenance checklist every vehicle owner should complete. Take a look and start checking things off the list!
Check and Change Your Oil
If you use conventional motor oil throughout the summer, winter is the perfect time to switch to synthetic. Synthetic oil flows more freely, even in frigid temperatures, which can help prevent rough starts during winter. Plus, synthetic oil also contains cleaning agents that can help clear performance-hampering buildup from within your engine.
If you’re not sure you want to switch to full synthetic, try a synthetic blend. A blend consists of both conventional and synthetic ingredients but is often more affordable than full synthetic. Your local auto repair shop can recommend the oil that’s best suited to your vehicle, complete your oil change, and perform a multi-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the cold.
Examine Your Battery
Fluctuating weather conditions can take a toll on your vehicle’s battery, and harsh summer temperatures are especially damaging. Unfortunately, you may not be aware of the condition of your battery until it refuses to operate on a cold winter morning. In fact, winter is a prime time for battery failures, primarily due to heat damage incurred during summer.
To ensure your battery is in proper working order, head to your local auto repair shop for a battery test. Your technician will measure the strength of your battery’s charge and can recommend a replacement, if necessary. If you use your vehicle infrequently throughout the winter, it’s also a good idea to attach your battery to a trickle charger to mitigate power loss over time.
Check Your Antifreeze and Flush if Necessary
If you plan on staying warm and toasty while driving this winter, make sure your antifreeze is in good condition. Antifreeze prevents the liquid within your engine’s cooling system from freezing, so having the appropriate mixture of water and coolant will keep your engine running smoothly throughout the winter.
To have your antifreeze tested, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop where the technicians can measure the strength of your coolant. During the test, a technician will determine the lowest temperature your engine can withstand with the proper ratio and quantity of antifreeze present. If your vehicle’s reservoir is not properly filled, your technician can top it off to reach the appropriate level. And if your antifreeze is exceedingly dirty, you may need a radiator flush for best performance.
Check Your Tire Tread
With slippery snow and ice on the roads, your tires’ traction — or lack thereof — should be at the top of your winter maintenance checklist. For safety’s sake, examine your tires for wear, and if their tread depth is insufficient, purchase new tires. To determine if your tires currently have sufficient tread depth, perform the penny test. Here’s how to do it:
● Find a penny and insert it into the groove between your tire’s tread.
● Take a close look at Lincoln’s head on the penny.
● If the tire’s tread does not cover the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
● If Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you can safely drive on your existing set of wheels.
Keep in mind that even if you use studded snow tires, you still need to check tread depth regularly. Metal studs do provide more traction, but driving with insufficient tire tread can compromise your safety.
Maintain Your Fuel Lines
The last thing you need on a cold, blustery morning is a vehicle that won’t start. Often, frigid temperatures can cause fuel to freeze within your vehicle’s fuel lines, which prevents your motor from operating. The best way to help prevent this phenomenon is to clean your fuel injectors. You can purchase fuel injector cleaner from your local auto parts supplier and pour it directly into your gas tank. Fuel injector cleaner helps prevent your fuel from freezing while simultaneously removing condensation within the fuel lines.
Contact AA Auto Tech for Your Vehicle Maintenance Needs
At AA Auto Tech, we’re dedicated to keeping you safe on the road. For nearly 40 years, we’ve been serving Hastings, MN and the surrounding areas with full-service auto maintenance and repair. Whether your vehicle needs an oil change, new tires, engine repair, transmission service, or anything else, our knowledgeable and experienced technicians are here to serve you. To learn more about our services or to schedule your appointment, give us a call at 651-437-2218. Or, feel free to message us on our contact page.