Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging
system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged
battery in good condition is required to start an engine in
Battery Cables and Terminals – Check the condition of the
battery cables and terminals. Make sure all connections are
secure and remove any corrosion from the terminals and
Drive Belts – Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Don’t
just look at the smooth top surface of the belt, but turn it
over and check the grooved underside where most belt wear
Engine Hoses –Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for
leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses to
check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy
feeling and in need of replacement.
Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather,
changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the
best winter traction. All-season tires will work well in
light to moderate snow conditions, providing they have
adequate tread depth. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches
of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear on the tires
can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems
that should be addressed to prevent further damage to the
Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure more frequently during
winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the
pressures in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees
Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on
a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And, don’t
forget to check the spare.
Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up
to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much
of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively.
However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter,
Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level when the engine is
cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of
coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze
capability. The level of antifreeze protection can be
checked with an inexpensive tester available at any auto
Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights,
emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up
lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with
each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots.
In areas with snowy conditions, consider installing winter
wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent
ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between
the rubber blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir
with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for
cold weather use.
Brakes – Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to
ensure all components are in good working order.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all
fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe
Emergency Road Kit – Update the car’s emergency kit for
winter weather. The kit should include:
Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or
Flashlight with extra batteries
Window washer solvent
Cloth or roll of paper towels
Gloves, hats and blankets
Warning devices (flares or triangles)
Non-perishable snacks (energy or granola bars)
Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers
programmed in it, including a roadside assistance provider