Is Your Vehicle Ready For Winter?
Get Ready For Winter
All around the country, winter is in full spring. Here in Arizona though, winter is just beginning. Many of us overlook our vehicles this time of year because we always hear just how tough Arizona summer can be on our cars but winter gets the cold shoulder. This can be extremely damaging to your vehicle! Here's why:
One of the many benefits of living in the Phoenix area is our ease of travel to various types of places. Whether it be the ocean sun 5 hours west or the mountainous winter wonderland 2 hours north, we are masters of quick road trips. If you are going to Flagstaff or the longer trip to the White Mountains, you are going to be very disappointed if your vehicle cannot handle the winter conditions! Along with that, the desert is known for it's large fluctuations in temperature even in one day. In the winter, we can very well experience a 70 degree F afternoon with a freezing 32 degree F or below night time. This fluctuation is extremely harmful to vehicles and the freezing temperatures can cause your engine block to freeze leaving your vehicle useless. Below are some great tips pulled from local auto shops on how to get ready for winter in Arizona
This is perhaps the most important fluid in your car during scorching heat or freezing cold. In the hotter months, antifreeze cools your engine, in the colder months antifreeze keeps your other engine fluids from freezing. It is quite the magical fluid! Ensure that your vehicles have enough antifreeze to get you through the winter. If you are checking your own coolant/antifreeze be cautious as you can cause serious damage to yourself and to your car. Only in emergencies should you ever add pure water to your coolant system, this can potentially cause your engine to corrode. Also, never check your coolant when your engine is hot (or anything else for that matter)! For more information on whether your vehicle will need new antifreeze, check with your local mechanic or look here.
As you can imagine, your brakes are quite essential to being safe when driving. This becomes especially true in the winter conditions as rain, ice, and snow can force you to use your brakes more often and more harshly. Faulty brakes can cause you to slide into a rear-end or even slide off the road. Checking your own brakes can be difficult but it can be done. You will need to be able to remove your own wheel unless your vehicle allows the option to check them without removing the wheel. When checking, you want to check the caliper to ensure it is still mounted firmly and check your brake pads to ensure they are still thick enough. You can find references at the store or lookup online how they should look.
Just like many other parts of your car, the battery is extremely easy to forget about when it is working properly, but once it stops working it can cause immense problems. To ensure you are not stranded on your drive, it is important to have a plan set in place for when you battery does die. It is true that when temperatures are colder, more strain is put on the batter to squeeze out any bit of energy. If you are headed on a road trip through the winter desert or to the Arizona mountain ranges make sure you have an extra battery on hand so you will not be stranded and forced to wave down a stranger for help. Many batteries only last about 2 years so when you are getting to that point in time, it could be a good idea to just go ahead and buy a new battery and stow in your trunk until your current one dies. If you do get stranded, make sure you have jumper cables and the ability to wave someone down!
It is essential to keep in mind that not only is it important to change your oil regularly, it is also important to use the right kind of oil for the right time of year. There are some oils that are manufactured to withstand all temperatures but if you want to really ensure you have the right oil, fill your car up with a cold-weather oil this winter. Oil is easy check but hard to change, make sure you go to a professional if you are unsure what to do!
In the end, your best bet will be to take your car in to your local mechanic and have them check over your vehicle for anything that is not working properly. Along with that, there are other options to get your car checked over. Many mechanic schools will allow you to bring in your car to get worked on by students for a much cheaper rate or sometimes for free. Just make sure you are getting some expert opinions and advice on how to stay safe this winter and every winter following!