Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Colder morning temperatures are a sure sign that the seasons are transitioning, with winter weather not too far away. That means your car needs to be ready to handle winter's worst, including snow, ice and frigid mornings.
Let's take a look at some steps you can take now to ensure that your car can handle any winter whollop:
Inspect tires - Your tires must be up to the task to handle whatever road conditions you face. This means having adequate tread left to manage ice and snow. For drivers living in snowy climates, investing in a pair of snow tires is important too. Buy a new pair of snow tires if the old tires have aged or show signs of wear. Check the spare tire too.
Check your lights - Inspect head lamps, tail lights, turn signal indicators and fog lamps for proper operation. Replace burnt out bulbs and clean off light covers. Check the third brake light too.
Top off or replace your antifreeze - When was the last time you inspected your antifreeze? When was it drained and replaced? If the antifreeze is still fresh, then top it off according to manufacturer instructions. Otherwise, flush and refill.
Inspect wires and hoses - Your car may be in excellent running condition, but a frayed wire or split hose can render your vehicle inoperable. Check wires, hoses and belts - replace as needed. Extreme temperatures will magnify any problem with your car. Avoid getting stranded over a cheap replacement part.
Perform a brake inspection - Are your car's brake pads up to the job? If not, replace same. Check the master cylinder for proper levels, discs and calipers for signs of wear and your car's suspension system including struts and shocks. Many garages provide a free inspection which is ideal for the person who is not familiar with this work.
Change your oil - Fall and spring are ideal times to schedule oil changes, just before the extreme temperatures of winter and summer set in. Change the oil and oil filter; if a tune up is due, then get that done now.
Make an emergency kit - Winter traveling means having emergency supplies at the ready in the event that you get stranded. Bring along a fully charged cell phone and cell phone recharger. Your kit should also include food, a blanket, water, jumper cables, flat repair, flares, fresh batteries and a first aid kit.
Even new cars can be severely tested when a cold snap sets in. If the check engine light comes on or your car has trouble starting, don't ignore the problem. Importantly, ensure that your road club plan is active and up to date - keep that number handy too.
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Star Tech European in Vacaville specializes in European Automotive service and reapirs. The auto repair business doesn't have the best reputation, so we go the extra mile to build trust. That includes taking extra time to really explain what your car needs and why. Our goal is to give professional, friendly, honest service without the stress and hassle of going to the dealer. We will never sell you something you don't need.

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