How to winterize your vehicle
Traveling during the winter months is common, and so are car problems. Many of these problems can be prevented before you leave the driveway.
A feature that's commonly overlooked by drivers during winter are windshield wipers. "When you get back home after driving during snow fall, clear the wiper blades so they do not freeze to the windshield," Bob Ugino, of Bison Automotive and Detail, in Buffalo, N.Y., says. "You'll also want to clear the snow between the windshield and hood, so when you use the wipers, ice doesn't shoot up over the car."
Don't turn on wipers if they're frozen, cautions Ugino. If you do, you could seriously damage the windshield wiper arms that could leave you with a $300 repair.
It's also important to check your tires' tread depth to ensure better traction. Dawn Orris, of Certified Auto Repair, in Washington D.C. says, "Stick a penny between the tread of your tires. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, your tread is too low and your tires need to be replaced."
You should inspect your brakes as well. "Some cars have sensors that make a squeaky noise to notify that your brakes are going out. If not, bring your car into an auto shop so they can put it up on the lift and take a look at it," says Orris.
Incase you get stranded while driving, Ugino suggests, "Keep a pair of jumper cables, flares, blankets, water, non-perishable food items and have at least half a tank of gas before driving anywhere."
"When winter comes you want to make sure the condition of your fluids is good, and that is something you would have get checked at an auto shop," says Orris. Most shops will check fluid levels and conditions for free. Replacing or refilling your car fluids can range from $15 to $90 depending on the amount of fluid needed and your car's make and model.