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December 13, 2013

Has Your Automobile been Winterized Properly?

The arrival of colder weather means it’s time for everyone who owns a car or truck to prepare their vehicle for winter. Doing this will help you to save money on maintenance and repair, as well as avoid breaking down in the middle of a blizzard.

Fortunately, we offer a great winterizing service for anyone who knows that they need to prepare, but just doesn’t have the time to spend an entire weekend doing it themselves. To start, we generally recommend having one of our certified mechanics fix any ongoing problems or issues with your vehicle. While we certainly understand the temptation to put these repairs off, freezing temperatures can make already existing problems with a car or truck much worse. While our mechanic is fixing these issues, he or she will also check the battery and electrical system, heating system, exhaust, and defroster. Issues with these areas of the car tend to appear most often in winter and they can lead to bigger problems down the road.

After addressing existing mechanical issues, our technicians will start winterizing your vehicle. Most start by adding a bottle of fuel de-icer to the gas tank. This specialized fluid keeps moisture from freezing inside the tank and fuel line. Anyone who routinely lets their gas level go below a quarter tank will want this service.

Next, our technicians will check and refill the cooling system. Many vehicle owners skip this step when doing work on their own because they believe that it isn’t an important system during the winter. In fact, the cooling system regulates the engine temperature throughout the year. If it is neglected, the extreme cold temperatures can cause the engine block to crack. This is a very important part of winterizing for anyone who leaves their vehicle parked outside at night, since this can expose the car to temperature swings of over fifty degrees in a twenty-four hour period. Even people who garage their cars will want to have this system maintained, since repairs to it can be very costly and time-consuming.

Finally, our technicians will check the entire vehicle and ensure that it is safe to drive on ice and in snowy conditions. Windshield wiper blades will be examined and replaced if needed. We recommend replacing the blades with rubber-clad blades if you routinely leave your vehicle outside in sub-freezing weather. This will prevent the blades from cracking and peeling.
Our technicians will also top off the windshield washer fluid reservoir, since this fluid can be used as a de-icer. The vehicle’s lights and bulbs will be reviewed, and any burned out bulbs will be replaced. Finally, the tire pressure for all of the tires will be checked. Colder temperatures mean the air pressure in these will drop, so more air usually needs to be added.

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