Prepping your vehicle for the winter

Local News

In this photo provided by Caltrans, are cars and trucks in stopped traffic on Interstate 5 near Dunsmuir, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Thanksgiving travel has been snarled in some places by two powerful storms. A winter storm blamed for one death and hundreds of canceled flights in the West moved into the Midwest on Wednesday and dropped close to a foot of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. (Caltrans via AP)

SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) – Winter is on the way whether we like it or not and there are several aspects of our lives we need to prepare before the cold arrives. Your vehicle is one of the more important things to prep properly to avoid any serious situations during the winter months. There are several different parts of your vehicle that you should pay particular attention to before the thermometer drops below freezing.

One of the areas of your vehicle that you should inspect is your anti-freeze. It also acts as a coolant and works with your radiator and water pump to cool your engine when it is running. Inside the radiator, your coolant, which may also double as anti-freeze will not freeze even in some of the harshest cold temperatures and will ensure that you have fluid to cool your engine with when running. You can get a tester at your local auto parts store or go to a mechanic to have your coolant tested to make sure it can withstand cold temperatures, if your anti-freeze is not up to spec, the results could be catastrophic.

“You could get a cracked block, that’s the main concern is that it didn’t have the right anti-freeze in it temperature-wise. The block can get cracked and then it’s pretty much an engine failure and that point. Put another engine in it.” Said Travis McDonald of McDonald Automotive in Southport. Replacing an engine in almost any vehicle will cost more than it is worth.

When testing, you want your anti-freeze to be suitable for temperatures well below zero. If you test your anti-freeze and it shows zero or above, replacing that fluid would be recommended, and that will involve doing a flush of the cooling system to ensure replacing all the bad coolant. This is the most important area to check when prepping for the winter.

Other preparations you should make is to be sure that your windshield wipers are in good operating condition, also check the wiper fluid and be sure it doesn’t freeze. You may want to invest in winter tires, depending on your type of vehicle you may want a full set of winter tires or just two for your drive wheels. This could help big time on hills.

On the subject of wheels, aluminum wheels are often finicky in the winter months. Not only does aluminum shrink when it gets cold, but they also can corrode. Both of these issues can cause your tire pressure monitoring light to come on. The solution to this problem is to have your wheels re-sealed and any corrosion removed from the wheels as the air will often seep out of where the tire and wheel meet.

These measures can ensure that you have a safe and easy transportation method during the winter months. Also, be sure to follow your car’s usual maintenance during the winter months. These measures won’t guarantee a car-trouble-free winter but they wouldn’t hurt. No one likes being stranded in the cold.

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