You’ve heard the weather reports. Everyone is posting ominous forecasts of doom. Snow is coming. Are you ready? Or better yet, is your car ready? Just like winterizing your home, sheCANics plan ahead for cold weather with their favorite 4 wheel friend. Are you due for regularly scheduled maintenance? Did you need tires or brakes back in November but still haven’t done it? There’s no better time like now.
No, seriously, NOW IS THE TIME.
So what’s the first thing you should tackle #sheCANic to prepare for snowmageddon? We made a great list for you!Are you due for an oil change or tire rotation?
If so, why are you waiting!! Don’t forget your engine is like a vagina. While getting your oil changed, ask to have your battery, brakes, and tires checked and have them check and top off any low fluids. One important fluid to check is coolant. If you are checking and adding your own coolant:
1. That’s awesome! #sheCANic
2. Make sure your coolant is rated for at least minus 20 degrees.
If a mechanic or service advisor has recommended a repair for a coolant leak and you haven’t done it yet, coolant must be your best friend! Remember this old gem about coolant. If the leak is really bad or repair is really expensive you might want to consider parking the car until you can perform the repair. Tax time is around the corner! Speaking of taxes, now that it’s 2016, if you don’t already keep track of your maintenance receipts, this would be a good time to start. Just keep them with your owners manual.Do you need new tires?
This time of year, there are lot’s of deals to be had when purchasing new tires. Some stores run a buy 3, get the 4th tire free sale. Others may include free mount and balance with your tire purchase. A good sale can be found just by using your smart phone. Not sure of your tire size? Open your driver side door, and you’ll see a white sticker indicating your vehicles tire size, weight rating and vehicle identification number (VIN ). You can use this information to call around for tire prices without putting your snow boots on.You want to see and be seen!
So, by now you are confident your vehicle is snow worthy. Fresh oil, good brakes, new tires. Ready right? How are your lights and wipers? Can you see well in a downpour, or a snow storm? Can other drivers see you? Do you have cracked or broken lenses? You can walk around your car, with your lights on, and check that all of your lights are working. Have a friend or neighbor check your brake and back up lights for you. Replace any bulbs that are out. If you have cracked tail light or turn signal lenses, you can purchase colored tape to put over the cracks that won’t diminish the light shining through. This wil help keep moisture out, which can contributes to premature bulb failure.Those measly wipers…
Wipe those tears away, driving in the snow doesn’t have to be so stressful. If your wipers weren’t doing a great job with all that cold November rain, they won’t hold a candle to any defrosting slush on your windshield next week. Many places like AutoZone and Advanced Auto parts, and Pep Boys will install wipers for you if you aren’t confident enough to do it yourself. But try it anyway in the parking lot, or watch the first one being installed, then try to do the second one yourself. And invest in some deicing washer solvent or spray deicer. Prestone is a good brand. And if you haven’t yet, get a good ice scraper.Other great tips for winter prep:
- Fill up on gas the day before the storm.
- Give your car a good thorough cleaning, inside and out. Throw out that trash, vacuum up those crumbs, save the change you find for the car wash.
- Make sure your heater/defroster works, and that there are no items blocking your vents.
- Flip your floor mats upside down. It can save your carpet, while making it easier to dump excess snow and grit off the mat that you track in from the street. If you can’t flip your cars floor mat, pick up a cheap pair at a thrift store or at an auto parts store. Make sure they aren’t too bulky, so as not to cause an obstruction between your floor and your pedals.
- Hit the car wash and don’t skip the wax. It can help protect your paint from the road salt and snow.
The storm is here! sheCANics you have pretty much covered all your bases, right? Over the river, and through the woods and NOT in a ditch you’ll go. But if the worst happens:
- Do you have an emergency kit in your vehicle?
- A bag or box with some essentials like a warm blanket, some gloves, and a flash light with good batteries.
- Jumper cables, spare quarts of your cars favorite fluids, especially if the car has over 100,000 miles.
- Non perishable snacks and bottled water. These are great for any time of the year, but when it’s winter, add a few extras.
- Kitty litter, bird seed or rock salt for slippery situations. Flipping your floor mat upside down can also help you get traction if you tire is spinning.
- A small compact shovel, for when you’re up to your hubcaps in the white stuff.
- A few towels are great too. Keep them in your car for passengers with wet snowy boots. If you have kids or pets along for the ride, be sure to keep a few extras in your emergency kit for them as well.
- And if you can, try to budget for AAA, or another roadside assistance program.
Cars can breakdown at any time, at any place, but when the weather is hazardous, being prepared can make this ordeal much more bearable. Planning ahead can also help ward off some of the more common winter car ailments that most people have to endure. If you’ve got all these ducks in a row, be sure to help a family member, friend or neighbor get their car ready for the snow.
Pass along any tips you’ve learned, or donate your time to help others get winterized. We’re all in this together, even if it’s just sitting in traffic.
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