Winter Driving- Things to think about.
Winter can be very harsh in this part of the country. This exacts a heavy toll on a vehicle. It is intelligent to make sure that your vehicle is well prepared and ready to cope with all of its rigors. Protocol requires the following precautions and they may save you a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.
· ENGINE TUNE-UP to ensure that the fuel and ignition systems will perform in all conditions. The engine oil should be replaced with an engine oil of the correct viscosity for cold-weather. A block heater is a good investment to ensure starting in extreme cold.
· THE FUEL SYSTEM should be protected from gas line freezing by keeping the fuel level as full as possible. Allow at least fifteen minutes of driving time to elapse after a fill-up before turning off the engine. This ensures moisture will pass through the system rather than collect at the bottom of the tank and in the fuel lines and freeze. In extreme cold, add gas line antifreeze at each fill-up.
· THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM should be checked to make sure that the battery is charged and operates at maximum strength. The terminals should be cleaned. The alternator should be tested and the V-belt adjusted to ensure maximum efficiently.
· THE TIRES should be of the correct type for the winter conditions in your area. All season or snow tires are recommended and should be installed before the onset of winter. The inflation pressure must conform to manufacturer's specifications and should be checked regularly.
· THE COOLING/HEATING SYSTEM should be tested and the coolant anti-freeze level and concentration added to as needed. The system should be flushed every third year. The air ducts and fan should perform properly. Keep outlets clear.
· THE BRAKE SYSTEM should be verified, adjusted and repaired as needed. It must respond effectively and precisely to pedal pressure to ensure control in critical winter driving conditions. The parking brake is part of the system and must also function properly.
· THE WINDSHIELD WIPER/WASHER SYSTEM should have special winter wiper blades installed. The wiper arms should be checked to make sure they will last the season. Make sure that the washer fluid in the reservoir and in your trunk is appropriate for winter temperatures.
· THE EXHAUST SYSTEM should be checked for leaks and looseness all the way to the tailpipe. Winter conditions test the system severely.
· THE LOCKS AND SEALS should be prepared for the rigors of winter. The locks should be lubricated with a product recommended by the manufacturer. The rubber seals around the doors and the trunk (hatchback) should also be treated with an appropriate product to prevent sticking and freezing.