The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a nonprofit organization that tests and certifies automotive and repair technicians, suggests that drivers follow their vehicles' owner's manuals to winterize their cars.
Here are some problems drivers will want to address before cold weather hits:
- Engine Problems.
Cold weather will only make hard starts, rough idling or stalling worse, so you should see a technician at the first sign of engine trouble.
- Dirty Filters.
Dirty filters can waste gas and put extra stress on vehicle components. Check your air, fuel and PVC filters, then replace them if needed.
To extend the life of your engine, check the oil and the oil filter according to the schedule specified in your owner's manual.
- The Cooling System.
It's colder outside, but that doesn't mean you can ignore your car or truck's cooling system. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A certified auto technician should check the tightness and condition of the drive belts, clamps and hoses.
- The Heater and Defroster.
To prevent dangerous window fogging, make sure they are in good condition.
- The Battery.
Only an auto technician with specialized equipment can detect a weak battery. Technicians can perform routine battery care, like scraping away corrosion from posts and cable connections, cleaning services and retightening all connections.
- Exhaust System.
For safety, have your vehicle's exhaust system checked for leaks.
Worn tires make winter driving unsafe. Analyze your tires for cuts, nicks and uneven wear patterns. Check your tire pressure once a month when the car is cool.
For more seasonal driving tests, visit www.ase.com.