Wednesday, October 3, 2012

AAA Car Care Month - Winter Car Care Checklist

In honor of October being AAA car care month - we would like to remind drivers to have their car ready for the change in seasons!  We at Simpson Brothers Garage are happy to help you prepare your vehicle for the coming months.  Here is a winter car care checklist to help you prepare, or drop by Simpson Brothers Garage, a certified AAA repair shop! 

Simpson Brothers Garage has free inspections to help you prepare for fall and winter driving!

Winter Car Care Checklist

Battery and Charging System –  During the cold winter months a fully charged battery will start much better - making your morning commuter vehicle more reliable.  At Simpson Brothers, we can test and replace your car's weak battery.
Battery Cables and Terminals – we will check to see if your battery terminals and cable ends aren't corroded and the connections are tight.
Drive Belts – we can check the accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Often times, newer belts are made of materials that don't show more obvious signs of wear - it is a good idea to have them replaced every 60,000 miles.
Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or excessively spongy feeling.
Tire Type and Tread – Snow tires provide the best winter traction, however all-season tires work well in light-to -moderate snow conditions provided they aren't too worn down.  To remain safest on winter roads you should replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Make sure your tires don't show signs of uneven wear - this can mean your alignment, wheel balance or suspension may be off, and can damage your tires or worse - it may mean a costly repair.
Tire Pressure – Make sure all four tires and the spare are inflated properly more often during the fall and winter. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressure (usually one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit). The proper tire pressure can usually be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.
Air Filter – Hold your engine's air filter up to a lit 60 watt bulb - it's a good way to see how clean it is.  If you can see light through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work efficiently. However, if the light is mostly blocked, it's time to replace it.
Coolant Levels – When the engine is cold, check the coolant level in the overflow tank (or let one of us at Simpson Brothers check for you!). If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. You can test the antifreeze protection level annually with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.  
Lights – It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to check the operation of all headlights, tail-lights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs - it's always safer to be seen!
Wiper Blades – The ideal blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider installing winter wiper blades for snowy weather- blades which have a 'wrap' in a rubber boot, reducing ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a solution that has 'antifreeze' qualities to prevent it from freezing (the solution will usually be labeled with 'winter', or 'antifreeze' in the description).
Brakes –  Have your brake system inspected by a certified technician if there are any signs of problems - ensuring all parts are in good working order.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.  We at Simpson Brothers will help you with this!
Emergency Road Kit – It is always a good idea to carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. The kit should include:
  • Mobile phone, pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
  • Drinking water
  • First-aid kit
  • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Blankets
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)

This winter car care checklist is provided courtesy of AAA.

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