According to the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), "Cold weather will only make existing problems worse."
Here are a few items that are easy and simple to check before fall turns to winter:
- Familiarize yourself with your owner's manual, and follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedules. No one knows your car better than the company that manufactured it.
- Upgrade Your Motor Oil.
The easiest way to protect and improve the performance of your car is to upgrade to a high-performance synthetic motor oil and change it regularly.
Synthetic motor oils have better low-temperature fluidity than mineral-based motor oils, helping ensure start-ups on cold days. Some motor oils, like Royal Purple, have been proven in independent tests to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and increase horsepower and torque.
More information is available at www.royalpurple.com.
- Examine Your Wheels.
Worn tires can be extremely dangerous on rain, snow and ice. Examine tires for remaining tread life and uneven wearing. Check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks as well.
- Check the Cooling System.
It may be time for a flush and refill if it's been more than a couple of years since the coolant has been changed. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.
A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Additionally, the condition of hoses should be checked for cracks and leaks.
- Make Sure You Have a Working Battery.
If your battery is beyond its recommended service life, replace it. Top off any low battery cells with distilled water. Clean and tighten battery terminals to ensure that electricity gets from the batter to the starter on chilly fall mornings.
If corrosion is present, clean it with a mixture of baking soda and water, and put on a set of battery washers to keep corrosion from coming back.
- Keep Fuel Lines Clean.
It's important to keep gas lines from freezing in cold weather. No vehicle can run if it can't get fuel. A full gas tank will help prevent moisture and ice from forming. Particularly cold weather may warrant using a fuel de-icer to prevent fuel lines from freezing.
A block heater is another option that is fairly inexpensive and easy to use.