Before the rain, ice and snow hit, get your vehicle ready for the winter. You already know the basics, weigh down the trunk, keep tire chains on hand just in case you need them, and put the ice scraper in the glove box. What about your car itself, however? Its engine? Its tires? It’s always a good idea to do a little fall maintenance on your vehicle to prepare it for winter driving. DOC Auto can help.
Suspension, Tires and Undercarriage
The bottom of your vehicle needs to be in tiptop shape to handle slippery winter roads. Now is the time to have the tires inspected to ensure the tread is still good and the suspension checked for any cracks, wear or other damage. To avoid hydroplaning, tires must have plenty of tread and be filled with the recommended psi of air. If your tires are old or underinflated, you run a higher risk of sliding on the road.
Your vehicle’s suspension is also critical to maintaining control while in motion. Suspension includes the shocks or struts; springs; bushings, bearings and joints; linkages; and the steering system. All of this should be inspected to ensure nothing needs to be replaced before winter weather hits. Your undercarriage should also be checked for rust or damage, as road salt is harsh on the undercarriage
Under the Hood
Two things under the hood should definitely be looked at now: your radiator and your motor oil. Your radiator system is filled with coolant in the summer to prevent the vehicle from overheating. Coolant also acts as anti-freeze in the winter to prevent your engine from freezing. If you haven’t had a radiator flush in a while, now is the time to do it. This adds fresh anti-freeze to the radiator and checks the hoses.
If it’s time for an oil change, get it done and consider using synthetic motor oil if you currently have conventional motor oil in the engine. Even if it isn’t time for an oil change, you might want to switch the conventional oil to synthetic motor oil if you do a ton of winter driving. Synthetic motor oil does not freeze in cold temperatures like conventional motor oil can, so it’s better in the winter.