• Make sure that all important documents for your vehicle are up to date and within reach. This includes proof of insurance, registration, maintenance logs and warranty information.
• As temperatures begin to drop, take your ice scraper out of the garage and put it back in the car. It's also a good idea to put an extra blanket and pair of gloves in your trunk before winter weather strikes.
• Check the pressure in each tire to ensure that it's at the recommended level. (The air-pressure specifications can usually be found on the driver's side doorjamb or in your vehicle's owner's manual.) Low tire pressure can result in lower gas mileage and affect the handling of your car, sometimes leading to potentially dangerous blowouts.
• Inspect your tires for excessive tread wear and replace any tires that are balding, as they are more likely to lose traction in wet and/or icy conditions.
• Don't wait until you're caught driving in bad weather to start thinking about your windshield wiper blades. If your wipers are starting to smear rather than squeegee, it's a good idea to replace them.
Under the Hood
• Get an oil change. It's the best insurance you can buy to prevent excessive engine wear. I recommend using a synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1 Extended Performance, which is specifically designed for the longer oil change intervals manufacturers are recommending for many newer cars. It's guaranteed to protect your engine for up to 15,000 miles. Mobil 1 Extended Performance also flows quickly to critical engine parts at start-up, even in very low winter-morning temperatures, reducing wear at start-up and promoting extended engine life.
• Have your vehicle's cooling system checked for any leaks or low coolant levels. According to the National Car Care Council, cooling system failure is the number one cause of engine-related roadside breakdowns. Coolant may be something that you only associate with warmer weather, but as winter approaches, it's very important to make sure that your vehicle's coolant (or antifreeze) is ready to withstand the frigid temperatures that await.
• Schedule a full engine tune-up, as outlined in your owner's manual. By having your filters replaced and fluids topped off regularly, your vehicle's performance will improve.
"Don't wait for signs of car trouble to take care of your vehicle, especially as cooler weather begins to take hold," says Goss. "Instead, be proactive when it comes to preventative maintenance and save yourself some time, money and potential headaches in the process."
For more information on vehicle maintenance, visit www.mobiloil.com.