Winter in Chicago can take its toll on your vehicle. Having routine maintenance and checkups can drastically reduce the chances of break downs and frustrating situations.
Here are Foreign Car Clinic we have put together a top 10 list of the most practical tips that every vehicle owner should have checked.
Having lived in the Chicagoland suburbs our entire lives we know just how bad winters can be here. Severe cold and high winds are common during the winter months and doing some minor preventive maintenance now will save you lots of costly vehicle repairs later.
Tips For Winterizing Your Car
1. Check and flush your engine coolant (antifreeze)
If your vehicle is fairly new you should have the antifreeze checked to ensure that you have the proper water to antifreeze ratio. If your vehicle is older then it might be a good idea to have your cooling system flushed. Draining the radiator only removes about 45% of the fluids from the entire cooling system, so a complete flushing of the system is recommended to remove any rust and corrosive deposits. Foreign Car Clinic can advise you on which way is best for your vehicle.
2. Change your oil
Oil changes seem like the most common sense thing every vehicle owner should be doing on a regular basis. However not all oil is the same. Belive it or not there are different viscosity engine oils that should be used depending on the season and weather in your area. A thicker viscosity oil can be used in hotter months but a thinner oil in the cold winter months is recommended. An experienced car mechanic shop like Foreign Car Clinic knows which oil is best for your vehicle type, age, and the hot and cold driving seasons.
3. Check your battery
During the cold Chicagoland winter, your car battery needs more current in order to start your vehicle. Frequent battery testing can ensure that your battery has enough cold cranking amps and outputs enough voltage to last your through the winter without having a dead battery. When you're stuck trying to change a battery outside in a cold parking lot, it is no fun at all. Foreign Car Clinic recommends regular battery checkups and they can also inspect your cables for corrosion. If you battery is 3 years old or more, you should be checking to make sure that you are not going to need a replacement soon. Older batteries usually do not last through frigid winter temperatures.
4. Check your tires and air pressure
Warn tires are the number one reason for accidents in the winter. Sliding on ice is dangerous not only to yourself but to others. And who needs higher insuance premiums? Not us!
Checking your tire tread depth and keeping your air pressure optimal will increase your traction on those icy roads.
5. Get a tune-up
Ever vehicle is recommended to have a basic tune up every 30,000 miles. A tuneup and inspection of your belts and hoses,ignition, brakes, wiring, fan belts, spark plugs, air, fuel and emission filters is something that should be done on occasion and Foreign Car Clinic can advise you if your vehicle has any items that should be maintained now or in the near future.
6. Check your washer fluid and windshield wipers
When the snow and ice come, you will want your windshield wipers and washer fluid to be new. Winter washer fluid is highly recommended so it does not freeze and helps keep ice from building up while you are driving. A quality set of wiper blades are alsways good for sweeping away the sleet and snow and help keep your vision clear and safe. Having a small can of de-icer can come in handy as well for more extreme winter weather conditions.
7. Check your defroster and heater
Heater and defroster repairs can be costly and they are crucial for driving safely in the winter. Some tips that Foreign Car Clinic recommends is to check for air leaks around your doors, vents, and to make sure your blower motor is operating properly. Rear window defrosters can also go out and having it checked can make sure you are not stuck scraping your rear window all the time.
8. Check your 4-wheel drive
This seems like an obvious thing to check but it is commonly overlooked. 4 wheel drive axles should be checked occasionally and when needed, the differential fluid should be changed. An inspection of the seals should be done in order to make sure fluid levels remain where they should be, inside the axle housing.
9. Keep your gas tank filled
If your gas tank is always low then you are allowing the possibility for moisture to collect in your fuel tank. Keeping your gas tank filled as much as possible will not allow moisture to get in your tank and contaminate your fuel.
10. Have a car emergency kit
If you do not already have a car emergency kit, get one. If you already have one, then open it and check the items that are in it and make sure everything is in order. Make sure you have a flashlight and some new batteries for it just in case you do break down.
Foreign Car Clinic can inspect any of the above mentioned items for you and advise you on the items that you should be the most concerned about. Give us a call at 1-847-255-1779 and we can set an appointment for your vehicle's winter maintenance inspection.