Today is the first day of winter.
Following a few winter car safety tips can help protect you on road trips, while you run errands, and anything in between.
Make sure your car is up-to-date on maintenance services.
Battery, brakes and belts
You should also ask an automotive expert to take a look at the timing belt – which surrounds pulleys – and the serpentine belt – which wraps around engine components.
The brake system needs to be working correctly, as well. This includes the brake pads and rotors, calipers, brake hardware, and anti-lock braking system (ABS).
For a vehicle to operate safely, pads and rotors must be at 2/32 of an inch or more. If the red brake light or ABS light turn on, bring it to a shop or a mechanic as soon as possible.
Taking care of your windshield is also critical. Windshield wipers should be replaced if they are torn or leave streaks, making it difficult to see. Using washer fluid with the right temperature protection level helps prevent it from freezing.
More winter car safety tips
Other components we recommend getting inspected are:
- Car lights
- Coolant and other fluids
- Tires and tire pressure
Winter is made up of shorter nights, rainy days, and snowy conditions. To help prevent accidents, car lights need to be checked regularly. When needed, replace any bad bulbs for headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, and fog lights.
Headlights can grow foggy, and headlight restoration can be used to clear them up. Depending on how long you plan to keep your vehicle, it might be best to just replace the headlight assemblies.
It’s important to keep an eye on a car’s fluids, as well. This includes the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid.
Fluid that’s lower than normal may be a symptom of a leak. If certain fluids – like power steering fluid – appear dark, your vehicle could be telling you it’s time to replace them.
If an auto repair shop performs a coolant fluid exchange or tops off your coolant, make sure they put in the right kind.
Coolant can be blue, red, purple, pink, orange or green. The type a car uses depends on the metal used for the engine.
Checking the tires is another one of our winter car safety tips.
Has it been a while since you purchased tires? Is the tread getting close to 3/32 of an inch or 4/32 of an inch? It may be time to invest in new tires. Goodyear Tire and Kelly Tire produce all season options. Winter tires are also available.
You should also ensure that they have the right amount of air. As the temperatures dip, tire pressure decreases. Driving on low tires can impact their lifespan.
Many vehicles are equipped with a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS). If yours is, be watchful for the TPMS light, which may turn on if one or multiple tires don’t have enough air.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.