Now that the blizzard is over….at least we hope!

by Steve Wilson on January 5, 2010 · 0 comments

in Auto

SNOW

It is always good advise to prepare your car for winter weather by taking it in for a pre-winter check-up. However no one could have predicted our weather this year! Winter can be a grueling time for your car, especially if you live in an area with heavy snow storms or severe winter weather. And all those times you’ve driven through slush can take a toll on your car’s health.

Road salt, commonly found on city streets to make driving safer, can erode your car’s paint and cause damage to the bottom of your car if it’s not cleaned off properly. Your car’s engine also works harder during the winter, so if it’s not in the best of shape, you may run into a few problems.

So during winter weather, don’t be stranded on the road – be aware of any changes in your car’s performance and be on the lookout for any signs of car trouble. And if even if it’s a minor problem that you’ve had before, it’s better to be safe and bring your car to your local mechanic, or not driven at all.

Here are four warning signs that you should not ignore:

1. Your Brakes are Squealing
During the winter, your brakes are crucial to prevent skidding on slippery roads and noisy brakes can be an indication of a dangerous problem like worn out brake pads.  Malfunctioning brakes can also cause you to skid on patches of ice. This is a very serious problem if not taking care of properly.

2. Your windshield washer fluid is running low
Clean windows are even more important during the winter, when your visibility is already reduced by snow and fog. If you see your fluids are running low, fill them up immediately with a de-icer. These products will not only clear your windows of ice and frost, they also help prevent re-freezing.  Its best to allow your car some time to warm up before trying to spray immediately.  Also, be sure to visually inspect the spray nozzles for ice build-up.  If they are frozen over, they will not function when you may need it most.

3. Fuel-level Warning Light
If you’ve ever driven with your gas-tank warning light illuminated, you probably know that you can still go a few more miles before you absolutely have to fill your tank again. But during the winter, procrastinating can be extremely dangerous. You never know if or when you might be on the road for longer than expected, and you don’t want to be stranded in a cold car without any gas. And if that isn’t enough to get you to fill up your tank sooner, consider the hefty bill you’ll have to pay to have your car towed to a gas station, not to mention all the time wasted.  Besides, most vehicles perform better on a full tank rather than a half empty one.

4. Weak or Old Batteries
Your car’s battery goes through a lot, especially during the winter. Because batteries tend to deteriorate more quickly during the winter, you should never drive on a low battery or you may ended up with a car that won’t start. And if your battery is in good condition, you should look out for corrosion which can appear as white, crusty residue around your battery post.  There are several methods for cleaning your battery terminals.  Just be sure not to touch it with bare hands or get it onto your clothing.

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