With the average vehicle’s lifespan being about 13 years, cars today really go through the wringer. When you consider the miles of the nation’s highways that have potholes, wear and tear of everyday use, and the harsh effects of Mother Nature that the seasons bring, it’s impressive that cars hold up as much as they do.
Most unforgiving of all is the wintertime – both on you and your vehicle. Slippery conditions can make for dangerous driving conditions, and with single-digit temperatures straining car batteries and deflating tires, you’re probably counting the days before spring arrives.
Here are a few things you should be sure to check-on to get your car through the rest of the winter:
Examine your tires
Your tires are the only things on your car that actually make contact with the road, so you can understand why it’s so important that they be checked frequently. But during the winter, it’s especially crucial. The tread on your tires is what helps them grip the road, so you definitely want to ensure that there’s plenty of it. Also, you should check the air pressure in your tires. When the temperatures dip, it often leads to tires losing air. You’ll know what the optimal PSI is by checking the sidewall of your tires.
Look under the hood
The engine is like the mission control center for your vehicle. If something isn’t going right, it probably started under the hood. If you’re unfamiliar with automotive repair, however, you probably don’t know what to look for to see if everything’s as it should be. Consider taking your car into the shop for a tune-up. You’ll have to spend some money to have it done, but consider it money well spent as you’re investing in your safety.
Check the gas tank
Aside from your steering wheel and ignition, the gas tank is probably what you interact with the most, depending on how quickly you go through gas. The next time you fill up, consider adding some fuel de-icer. According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, adding a bottle of fuel de-icer once a month helps keep moisture from freezing your car’s fuel lines. You should also try to keep your gas tank as full as possible, as this also will prevent freezing.
Observe your windshield wipers in action
What definitely gets a workout in the winter are your wiper blades. For three-quarters of the year, the only thing they have to deal with is rain and maybe hail every now and then. The winter brings a ton of precipitation in the form of ice, sleet, and snow. Have a pair of replacement blades ready to install if your wipers aren’t clearing precipitation like they should be. Typically, switching out old wipers for new ones should be done twice a year.
Inspect your headlights
Your headlights not only enable you to see but also for other drivers to see you. And when the snow is coming down, visibility is essential. Clean the road grime off your vehicle’s headlights periodically so that visibility isn’t a problem. If it’s been several years since you last replaced your headlights, you may want to think about buying some new ones, as their brightness fades over time.
Following these steps should help you and your vehicle outlast Old Man Winter as the season slowly but surely winds down.