No one expects Texas winters to be too trying. Nevertheless, the onset of winter still calls for some reasonable measures to protect your car or truck from the potential ravages of the season.
Service Manager David Pryor at Bob Utter Ford, Lincoln & Kia in Sherman has some tips on winterizing your vehicle before the cold winds blow.
“To get your car or truck ready for winter, take it in to your dealer or service provider and have things checked,” he said. “You need to have the fluid levels checked, the coolant levels and strengths checked. Around this part of the country, you need coolant protection down to around zero.”
1. Routine oil checks
It is also a good time for an oil change, and pay attention to the weight of the oil. Consult your owner’s manual to see if it recommends going with a lower viscosity 5W weight rather than the usual 10W-30 recommended for most cars. Some synthetic oils may be formulated for both winter and summer temperatures without needing a change.
Keep up with the maintenance.
“Check your belts and battery,” Pryor said. “Cold weather can definitely affect the battery, and low amps can mean your vehicle won’t start, and you are stuck. Check the belts, hoses, and charging systems as well.”
2. The winter is all about tire safety
Have your tire pressure checked, Pryor said.
“You should do this every month anyway, even if your vehicle has a low pressure warning system,” he said.
You also want to check your tires for tread wear and other defects. Cold weather is hard on tires since there are more potholes and other road hazards. Make sure you are in good shape where the rubber meets the road.
Check the spare if you have one, and make sure the equipment for changing a flat tire is in good working order.
3. Have you thought about your wipers?
Too often, people go into winter driving blind with worn out wiper blades. Pryor recommends changing you wipers, front and back, at least once a year.
4. Make sure the systems you have not used recently are in good condition
When was the last time you turned on your heating systems? They not only keep you warm, they also provide the means of clearing fogged or icy windshields or rear windows with the defroster or rear window de-icer. You probably have not used them during the summer, so make sure they work.
5. Do you have an emergency kit
While no one expects trouble, it pays to be prepared if it comes along. Do you have an ice scraper? Too many driver start off half blind while waiting for the defroster to clear the windshield. It is also a good idea check your car’s emergency kit — flashlight, flares, gloves, and even a blanket and some candles just in case you are stranded somewhere.
“It’s really just common sense maintenance, but potentially bad weather makes it even more important than usual,” Pryor said.
Edward Southerland is a feature writer for Best of Texoma. For more information, visit BestofTexoma.com or www.facebook.com/BestOfTexoma