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Winter Maintenance and Safety Tips

Fall is the time to winterize your vehicle.  By following a few simple steps, you can better protect yourself, your passengers and your vehicle.  Most of these tasks are easy to do yourself, but schedule an appointment if you need assistance.


Vehicle Owner’s Manual 

A good place to start is to check your vehicle owner’s manual to make sure the vehicle is up to date on recommended maintenance.


Winter Safety Kit 

It is a good idea to store a few items in the trunk of your car in case of an emergency:

  • Battery jumper cables
  • Large flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid supplies
  • Extra blanket and warm clothing
  • Battery powered radio with spare batteries
  • Basic tool kit
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food
  • Highway safety flares in good condition
  • Windshield ice scraper
  • Replacement electrical fuses


Tire Chains

 Keep chains handy and learn how to use them.  Weather conditions can change suddenly, especially when traveling in the mountains. 


Cooling System

 Flush and refill the radiator according to the manufacturer’s specifications.  This service should include replacing the pressure cap and adding anti-freeze if necessary. 


Wiper Blades

Replace dry and cracked wiper blades and top off the wiper fluid (not water).  Check before the first storm of the season by turning them on and making sure they evenly wipe the windshield.


Battery and Battery Cables

Have your battery tested, especially if it is near the end of its warranty.  Inspect the battery cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt.


Brake Pads and Linings

Have your brakes checked regularly by your automotive technician.



Regularly check the air pressure in your tires, including your spare.  Inspect them for signs of excessive wear.  Uneven or excessive tread wear is an indication that it may be time for rotation or replacement.



Properly functioning lights are crucial for driving in winter fog.  Test all lights to make sure they work, especially brake lights and turn signals.


Heater and Defroster

You may want to have a professional inspect the entire heating system as well as all belts and hoses.


Check Engine Light

“Check Engine” or “Malfunction Indicator” light is the first sign of a problem and should not be ignored.  Have your car checked by your technician if the check engine light is on.



Try to keep your tank at least half-full, especially when driving at night, in bad weather or for long distances.


Cell Phone

Carry a cell phone for emergencies.  Make sure the battery is fully charged.



Last modified:11/08/2012