We’ve gotten your truck ready for winter, but have you gotten your personal vehicle ready? Winter weather is hard on your vehicle. Before our temperatures drop into the negative you should give your vehicle a winter tune up to help ensure you or your family don’t get stranded out in the cold.

If you’re mechanically inclined you can get your vehicle winter ready by yourself or take it to a trusted mechanic who can perform the checks for you. Following is a list of checks to perform:

The Battery

Your motor needs a fully charged battery to start in cold weather. Clean the battery posts, check the charging system and belts for optimum performance. Replace weak batteries before they fail to avoid being stranded.

The Ignition System

Check the ignition wires, distributor caps and spark plugs. Replace any defective wires or cracked caps. If you discover a warn spark plug you may want to consider replacing it to avoid a sudden breakdown.

The Lights

Make sure that all of the vehicles lights are working and that headlights are properly aimed.

The Brakes

Check and or service your brakes to make sure that they are in top working order. A change in pedal feel, unusual squealing or grinding or the vehicle pulling to the right or left may be signs that your brakes need repair.

The Tires

For the best traction on winter roads you should have properly inflated winter tires. Install your winter tires when the temperature is consistently below 7 degrees Celsius.

If you don’t have winter tires, check your tires for ware and replace balding tires to avoid traction issues and blow outs on icy winter roads.

Check the tire pressure often to ensure they are properly inflated. Remember the cold will cause the air inside your tires to contract, lowing the pressure. Don’t forget to check the tire pressure of your spare as well.

The Exhaust System

Check for leaks that could send deadly carbon monoxide into your vehicle. This check should be completed at least once a year. Exhaust leaks can be detected by hearing a hissing coming from the system or experiencing headaches, dizziness, drowsiness or nausea while in the vehicle.

The Heating System

Check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat are working properly. Test the strength and level of the coolant and antifreeze and make sure the heater and defrost work well.

The Windshield Wipers

Make sure that your wipers are in good condition replacing wiper blades that streak or do not connect with the windshield. Purchase wipers that are designed for winter use. Fill up your washer fluid with fluid designed for colder temperatures.

By getting your vehicle winter ready you can identify mechanical problems with your vehicle that should be fixed immediately, or planned for before they cause breakdowns that leave you or your family stranded in less than favourable conditions.

Image courtesy of Surachai at freedigitalphotos.net