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How to avoid potential car issues in winter

Car in Snow

Photo Credit: Flickr/Jasleen Kaura

How to avoid potential car issues in winter

By Jessica Klimczak on November 18, 2014

As winter approaches, you need to make sure your car is ready for the change in weather and temperature. If you live in a snow laden area, it is important to take extra precautions before the winter arrives by performing what mechanics call the “winter maintenance” service. The first thing on the list is tires. Tire tread depth should be checked to determine whether or not the tires need to be replaced. If the depth is less than 4/32" you should replace your tires. During good weather, your tire tread can go as low as 2/32, but this is not recommended in the winter. The second item on the list is to check the concentration of the antifreeze/coolant in the cooling system. You should have a 50% mix of antifreeze and water. In really harsh winter conditions, you may want to have a 65% antifreeze and 35% water. This balance of liquids is to prevent cooling system damage due to the water freezing and cracking the engine block. If your engine block cracks, you will need to replace your entire engine. As a third step you should replace your  windshield wipers with heavy duty wiper blades designed for snow removal. Lastly, check the levels your windshield washer fluid and add a washer fluid concentrate to prevent freezing.

In addition, be sure to ask your mechanic to perform any normally required maintenance that is due such as oil and filter changes, brake inspections, and tune ups. A higher rate of battery issues occur in the winter so ask your mechanic to test your battery and replace if it fails the test. If you are planning to head out on a road trip be sure you have cleaned and packed your battery cables.

If you have additional questions about winter car preparations, Mechanics on JustAnswer are available now >