Winter is coming. In some places, the snow has already fallen. Before you get too far into winter, make sure that you are ready to go with some basic car maintenance tips that can save you time and money as the season turns colder:
1. Get the Right Winter Tires
Depending on where you are, and how much you will be driving in the snow, different types of tires are likely to be desirable. Consider your needs, and get the right tires for the job. Consider that all-season tires might not be as effective in some climates as tires meant for snow. Getting the right tires can help you avoid slipping off the road, and prevent expensive tow bills.
2. Tire Pressure
If your tires aren’t properly inflated, they won’t do as well in winter driving conditions. It’s important to check, too, because the cold weather will compress the air to a certain extent, making it flatter. Make sure you keep your tires properly inflated so that you don’t run into trouble.
3. Mind Your Windshield Wipers
Realize that windshield wipers only last about a year. Make a point to get new wipers every year, just before winter. If you choose the “beam blade”they will be less likely to freeze up. Pop your blades when you are worried about freezing rain or snow. That way, they won’t freeze to your windshield, and your motor will last longer — and save you more.
4. Check Your Battery
You can load-test your battery fairly inexpensively, and it can save you heartache down the road. Find out where your batter is at, and if it needs to be changed, comparison shop for the best deal. In many cases, if you can change your battery yourself (and I’ve done this, so you probably can, too), you will save a great deal, since batteries aren’t terribly expensive. No need to pay for the labor at a mechanic shop.
5. Double Check Your Antifreeze/Coolant
Before winter hits, check your antifreeze/coolant. Top it off before you see the warning light. Check your owner’s manual to determine whether or not you are due for a flush. If you do need a flush, have it done. Make sure that you have the right product for your car, as well as for the conditions. This is especially important if you have just made the move to a colder climate. You might need to upgrade your antifreeze/coolant to be able to handle the frigid conditions.
6. Oil and Other Fluids
Finally, make sure you have the right oil for your car. Some types of oil don’t perform as well in the cold. Make sure that your oil is up to snuff for your area, and be sure to change it if necessary. You can also check your other fluid levels while you’re under the hood. Washer fluid is a helpful thing to have in some winter driving situations. When your fluid levels are appropriate, and you have the right types in your car, it will run better, and will be less susceptible to problems that can cost you money down the road.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.