You never want to be broken down on the side of the road, but winter is an especially harsh time to be stuck out in the elements. Before the snow falls, we suggest you incorporate a maintenance checklist each year to ensure you’re safe on the road.
Get and emergency kit for your vehicle: this is a great holiday gift, especially for a new driver, an elderly parent, or one who’s on back roads often. Emergency kits are readily available, or you can make your own. Ensure the kit has a blanket, flares, first-aid kit, flashlight, jack, shovel, non-perishable food, and sand (for traction if you are stuck).
Check your fluids and coolant: In Utah, salt is abundant on the roads during the winter. The spray of dirty snow and salt on your windshield quickly makes it difficult to see. Make sure your wiper fluid is always full with a freeze-resistant product. Check the engine coolant and all other fluids as well.
Check the health of your tires: Bald tires are a bad idea in the winter. You may not need actual snow tires, but at the least, you need tires with good tread. If you want to check this yourself, insert a penny into a groove on your tire. If Lincoln’s head is covered, you’re probably in good shape. For extra security, bring it in and have a professional check your tires. You also want to make sure your tire pressure is good. Cold temps cause the pressure to drop, so check this regularly.
Replace your wiper blades: You can’t drive if you can’t see out your windshield. Wiper blades are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace. Don’t wait on this fix—it’s dangerous to drive with poor wiper blades, and in our Utah winters, they’re used constantly in the winter.
Get your oil changed: Cold weather thickens oil and makes it more difficult to circulate and lubricate your engine. Make sure you are up on your oil changes, especially in the cold months of winter. It’s possible your car wants a thinner oil in the winter. A quality mechanic shop can let you know if this is the best choice for your vehicle.
Check your battery: The worst thing on a freezing cold morning is going out and scraping off your car just to find that it won’t start. The chemical reactions within your battery can slow down when it’s extremely cold. Keep on top of your battery life, and if your car struggles to start up, get it in for a test.
Check the belts and hoses: In our cold and dry climate, it’s common for hoses and belts to weaken. If you see cracks or any signs of wear, take your car in because replacements are probably needed.
The winter months are busy driving months, with shopping, family get togethers, vacations over the breaks, and ski season upon us. Don’t get stranded anywhere this winter season. Bring your vehicle into Transmission City and treat your car to the ultimate spa day.
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