s Is Your Car Winter Ready? 10 Simple Things to Check! - The Kim Six Fix
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Is Your Car Winter Ready? 10 Simple Things to Check!

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I am not personally experiencing it right now, but I know most of the nation is in the throws of deep winter… and I am feeling you!  My winters in Boston gave me great empathy for everyone dealing with cold temps and snow.  These memories are forever burned into my brain:
Winter snow in boston(At least there is snow cream right?) 

Well, if you think YOU hate the cold temps, just imagine how you car feels..  Even if your car is garaged in the winter, the weather can still wreck havoc on your four-wheeled baby.  Since I have empathy for your poor vehicle, here are a list of 10 things you should check out before it to make sure you car doesn’t let you down this winter!

Car Winterization Checklist:

1.  Have your Battery Checked  
Cold engines have more trouble turning over in the winter.  You battery loses 33% of it’s power when it is below freezing and only starts HALF as well when the temperature is below 0.  Therefore if you battery is already struggling, the chances are you will end up with “dead” battery when the temperatures plummet.   If you are still nervous about your battery life, you can carry a jump starter

2.  Change your wiper blades
Snow, sleet, road sand and salt are much harder on your wiper blades than regular rain. To make sure you have the best visibility, you want to replace blades are torn or streaking.  Replacing wiper blades is a easy DIY project and even heavy duty blades are really affordable.

3. Use windshield fluid rated for freezing temperaturesAlong with your wiper blades, you want to make sure your washer fluid is rated for freezing temperatures (often called “de-icer”).  Since water or summer-type (“bug remover”) washer fluid freezes at 32 degrees, spraying it onto your cold windshield will just result in a coat of ice.

4. Make sure your lights are working
 With shorter days, you definitely want to make sure all your exterior lights are working.  This doesn’t have to be a job for the mechanic.  I’ve posted before how you can DIY it, and save quite a bit of money!

5.  Have your oil changed
Although having your oil changed can be a DIY project, I typically don’t change my own.  I take my car to the WalMart Car Care Center.  They are reliable and affordable and it is so easy to swing by, drop off my car and get a little shopping done at the same time.
Wal mart car care center
The WalMart Auto Car Center features Pennzoil brand oils which are customizable for your specific vehicle.  Making sure you are using the correct type of oil is even more important in the winter months.  All Pennzoil products help clean out sludge, protect against friction and allow you to drive an extra 550 miles per year without engine damage (as opposed to a dirty engine) but they over further customization with their entire line of oil products.
Oil change flags
6. Choose the Right Oil
My 2006 mini-van takes the High Milage Vehicle oil.  This type of oil reduces leaks and oil consumption in worn engines with 75,000 miles or more.    My husband’s (younger) sedan takes the Conventional Yellow Pennzoil, that is fortified with Active Cleaning Agents to prevent deposits.   For high performance engines, the WalMart Car Car Center also offer Pennzoil Platinum, which is their synthetic motor oil that keeps pistons up to 40% cleaner than the toughest industry standards.Types of motor oil

7. Have your brakes inspected: 
Slippery winter conditions require longing stopping distances, and fully functional brakes are essential.  If you brakes are making a noise, if you feel like it is taking longer to stop or you need to depress the brakes harder, or if there is a shaking or shimmy upon stopping, your brakes are probably going bad.  However, even without symptoms, road salt and sand can corrode brake discs and pads so a brake inspection should be on your short list of things to do every winter.

8. Check for tire wear and inflation levels: For the same reason you want to check you brakes, you also want to check your tires.  The ability for your tires to grip the road is even more important in the winter.  Iin some instances, in areas of prolonged heavy snow and ice, and in areas where roads are not cleared, you may even want to have a second set of winter tires (snow tires).  If you are only traveling temporally into those type of conditions, snow chains are another alternative.

9. Replace your Anti-freeze (also known as Coolant):
In the winter you want to make sure you the anti-freeze to water ratio in your radiator is actually 1:1 (50% antifreeze and 50% water.)  Pure antifreeze actually freezes FASTER than a 50:50 mixture so if you have lost any antifreeze to leaks or evaporation, it is possible that your coolant can freeze in the winter.  Additionally, over the summer months, antifreeze can break down and get dirty, which can actually clog your radiator and heater (which is the last thing you want in the winter!)  Having the coolant concentration (and levels) checked is always a good idea.

10.  Carry an Emergency Kit:
Even with all these precautions, you never know when disaster may strike.  Emergency roadside kits (along with first aid kits) should be in all your passenger vehicles.  Like so many items on this list.. an ouch of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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