Don’t Let Auto Repair Problems Ruin Christmas!
December 1st, 2015
The Santas are in the stores, Christmas music is on the radio, and that means that before long, you’re going to be thinking about holiday travel. Winter driving is tough on vehicles for a lot of different reasons, so let’s go over a few things that you’ll want to address before hitting the road:
- Tires: This is where the rubber meets the road…literally. Make sure that you’ve got the right tires for all-season driving and check them for tread depth. The National Highway Transportation Safety Board and state laws require at least 2/32” of tread depth, but you really need at least 4/32” (or 1/8”) to be safe. Here’s an easy and quick way to check. Insert a penny into the tread grooves, Lincoln’s head down. If the tread reaches the top of Abe’s head, your tread is 2/32” deep. Now try again with a quarter; if the tread reaches the top of Washington’s head, it’s 4/32” deep. Now, try one more time with the penny again; tread that’s 6/32” deep should reach the Lincoln Memorial. Also do not forget to check your tire pressure – tires actually lose pressure in cold weather.
- Wipers: Even the best windshield wipers only last about a year, as UV rays and normal wear take their toll. If your wipers are showing any signs of streaking or smudging while doing their job, replace them. Those streaks and smudges will only get worse in sleet and snow. And, of course, check your windshield washer reservoir and make sure it’s topped off with good winter-quality washer fluid.
- Coolant: Your engine’s coolant is a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Once it’s been in the radiator and cooling system for long enough, it picks up corrosion and contaminants that prevent it from doing its job effectively. Is it a pure bright green (or orange, with some newer formulations)? Or is it showing signs of rust and corrosion? Radiator and coolant flushes should be performed every 30-40,000 miles.
- Battery: Winter temperatures are especially hard on batteries. At sub-freezing temperatures, motor oil thickens, making it harder to turn the engine over. In addition, cold weather slows down the chemical reaction in the battery’s cells; at 20 degrees, your battery can only deliver about 50 percent of its rated cranking power. Have your battery’s reserve cranking power checked, and make sure that your posts, cables and connections are free of corrosion buildup that can prevent proper charging.
|Don’t Let Auto Repair Problems Ruin Christmas! was written by Ryan Benton of Black's Tire and Auto Service|