How to Keep Your Car Safe and Reliable this Winter

How to Keep Your Car Safe and Reliable this WinterOctober is National Fall Care Month!  Every year the Car Care Council designates April and October to bring awareness to the importance of regular car care.   They have provided a checklist that they recommend car owners to follow to ensure their vehicles are ready for the severe weather that’s just around the corner.


Fall is a great time to check your heating system to be sure it works before Michigan’s freezing temperatures come.  We recommend you make sure all your controls, vents, and defroster work. Periodic checks of your radiator coolant throughout the year are a good idea.  You may find you need to flush or refill your coolant before winter.


You should make sure your windshield wipers are working properly before winter arrives.  Look for worn rubber, broken frames, metal wear, and that they make full contact with the windshield.  Reattach or replace your windshield wipers as needed.


Check to be sure all your headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights are working properly.  Replace an burnt out bulbs


Check your tire tread depth by placing a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down into the groove.  If you see that part of his head is covered by the tread, you should ok.  However, if all of his head is showing, it’s time to replace your tires.  You should al examine the tread wear pattern by testing your tire at the outer, center, and inside edge.  If the depth is not the same, your tires are wearing unevenly.   NOTE:  tire gauges are available at your local auto parts store in lieu of using a penny.


We recommend you have your brakes inspected before the arrival of winter.  Why?  Brake pads may erode due to high pressure when braking on slippery roads.  Getting your brakes inspected will ensure they are able to sustain the additional pressure.  If you experience squealing, brakes pulling to one side, or the brakes just “feel strange”, it’s time to have them inspected.


Excess moisture in your gas tank can cause issues with condensation.  We recommend you keep your gas tank at least half full. Adding a stabilizer can help prevent rust from forming and keep your gas tank from freezing which could cause blockages in the fuel system.


Never skimp on the quality of the oil you add to your vehicle and don’t neglect changing your car’s oil on regular basis.  Generally, it’s a good idea to change your car’s oil before winter when doing it yourself.  No one wants to

Charging System

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your car’s battery. The older the battery the more challenging it could be to start your vehicle.  As temperatures drop, your motor oil thickens, and your car’s battery will need more power to start your vehicle. Cold weather also slows down the chemical reaction which can cause a sluggishness of your battery at startup.  Keeping your battery clean and maintain it to extend its life.  If you experience slow engine crank; illuminated battery light on; bloated or mishappened battery care; or batter fluid leaking from the car; it’s time to get a new battery!

Cooling System

It may sound odd to recommend you check your car’s cooling system before winter.  The cooling system is critical to keep your car’s engine working.  However, the engine is always in danger of overheating even during the winter.  The high heat and the freezing temperatures outside take it toll not only on your engine but also on the belts, hoses, and fluid.   Some car owners mistakenly think that antifreeze will last for years.  However, old antifreeze can lead to oxidation and damage to your entire cooling system.

Exhaust System

Your car’s exhaust system takes a direct hit from Michigan’s potholes, ice on the roads, and salt which is highly corrosive.  All of these can cause problems for your exhaust system.   Also, your car’s muffler can corrode from the inside out due to moisture buildup caused by short trips.

Car Emergency Kit

Carry a winter emergency kit in your car.  The kit should include the following:

  1. Snow shovel
  2. First-aid kit
  3. Blankets
  4. Flashlight
  5. Ice scraper with brush
  6. Jumper cables
  7. Basic tool kit
  8. Flares or triangles
  9. Drinking Water

Why Come to Car Guys Auto Repair in Fraser?

Because of the challenges that come with winter driving, it’s critical you have a trusted mechanic inspect your car.  We recommend this occurs either in late summer or early fall season.  This allows you enough time to save up for new tires or brakes when navigating Michigan’s winter roads.

If you are searching for a trusted mechanic, please consider Car Guys Auto Center located in Fraser, MI. Whether you drive a passenger car or medium sized truck or SUV, our mechanics strive to ensure that your vehicle will be performing at its best before leaving our auto repair shop.  Give us a call today at 586-285-4444 to schedule your next auto repair & maintenance appointment.

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