Your Winter Service Checklist

It’s that time of year again! The cold is here, snow is coming, and your car needs a tune-up before holiday travel starts. Here are a few things to make sure your mechanic checks when you go in for service:

Antifreeze and Radiator

Make sure your antifreeze is topped off and ready to go with the proper seasonal mix.

You should ensure your cooling system is flushed every few years as, over time, the rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down and make the fluid less effective. Flushing will also remove particles that could clog the system.

Windshield Wipers and Fluid

This is a big one up here in New England, where your windshield wipers take a beating from ice and snow. If you haven’t had them replaced recently, give your wipers a good once over to make sure they’re in good shape. Your wiper blades should completely clear the glass each time they swipe; make sure to replace streaky blades or blades that “miss” areas in your field of vision.

In areas with particularly snowy conditions, you can install special wiper blades for the winter months that have rubber “boots” to prevent ice and snow buildup, and allow for better contact between the rubber and glass. Putting a winter-specific “no-freeze” windshield wiper fluid mix into your fluid reservoir will prevent the fluid from freezing while also helping to eliminate existing snow and ice.

Heater and Defroster

Your HVAC system keeps you warm while driving, but it also clears your windows and windshield of fog and ice. In snowy or extremely cold conditions, it’s especially important to make sure this system is working properly. Most experts recommend having your cooling system inspected with each oil change so that any issues can be repaired while they’re still small. Having the coolant in your engine flushed regularly and refilled with the clean coolant mix is also a crucial part of preventative maintenance. You should also have your mechanic look for and repair any leaks that occur in your cooling system before they become a costly issue.

Tires

Tires are an often overlooked contributor to car performance but they have a big impact on your vehicle’s handling and safety, especially on icy winter roads. Poor tires make a big difference when driving on snow, ice, or slick roads- as the only point of contact between the road and your car, they influence turn control, ability to break, even how smooth your ride is. You should always replace worn tires as soon as possible- if you’re not sure how to tell, ask your mechanic.

For a more in-depth look at tire safety, you can read our article on tire safety tips.

At V&F

While this is a fairly comprehensive list is below of what to check, cold weather makes a few of these even more important, such as ensuring your antifreeze level and type of mixture is good to go, and keeping the gas tank as close to full as possible at all times.

If your car needs maintenance or repair before this winter season, call us at (413)  314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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