RICHMOND, Va. As winter approaches, CarMax, Inc. a retailer of
used cars, offers advice on how to ensure that your car is ready for
"The harsh winter weather can expose hidden problems that have
developed during the previous seasons," said Todd Gartner, CarMax ASE
Master Technician. "That is why it is so important to prepare your
vehicle for the cold weather season by performing all preventative
maintenance services as recommended by the manufacturer."
CarMax’s automotive service technicians offer these ten
1. Check your anti-freeze. The best ratio of anti-freeze to water
is 50/50. The number one cause of engine-related breakdowns is cooling
system failure. Prevent this by having your cooling system flushed
every two years.
2. Replace your windshield wiper blades twice a year. Fill the
windshield washer reservoir with freeze resistant wiper fluid (plain
water and standard windshield washer fluid will freeze) and keep an
extra gallon in the trunk.
3. Check your battery. If the battery is more than three years
old, have a technician test its capacity. Have the alternator tested
at the same time. Make sure the battery terminal ends are
4. Check your tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tires are
cold, and set the pressure to the car manufacturer’s recommendations
for your specific tires. When the weather turns cold, the air inside
the tire will contract and the pressure will drop.
5. Look at the tread depth on your tires. Put a penny headfirst
between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s hair, it’s
time to replace the tire.
6. Check your spare tire. Make sure it has the proper air pressure
and tread depth and that all the proper tire-changing equipment is in
7. Check that your lights, heater and defrosters are working
8. Check all rubber hoses and belts to ensure they are not
damaged. Coolant hoses wear from the inside out. Inspect for heavy
cracks or chunking in the belts. Alternatively, have a professional
inspect all hoses and belts.
9. Have your car’s brake system checked. If you haven’t had the
system inspected in the last six months, have this performed.
10. Assemble a winter emergency kit for the trunk of your vehicle.
It should include a blanket, extra boots and gloves, an ice scraper,
windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, flares, a
small snow shovel, a flashlight, kitty litter (for traction when stuck
in snow) and bottled water.
"In addition, keep the fuel tank full," Gartner said. "It may be
necessary to change routes or you may be caught in a traffic delay or
need to turn back during a bad storm."
Along with following these tips, it’s also important to read your
owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service
schedules. Not only will these tips keep you safe in the winter months
but they can also improve your vehicle’s mileage while also preventing
future repairs down the road.