Is Your Car Ready For The Trip Home This Christmas?


Students who will be leaving college over the next week or so and heading home for the long winter break know that driving conditions can be challenging especially if winter weather rolls in. Winter can be the most difficult season for your car as it tests the strength of your battery and ice on carsubjects your car to ice, wind, snow, road salt and more.

“The harsh winter weather can amplify hidden problems that aren’t easy to spot during warm weather,” said Tom Damon, CarMax ASE Master Technician from Kenosha, Wis. “This increases the importance of winter car maintenance.” CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars

CarMax technicians offer these tips:

1.Check your oil-Make sure your oil is changed with the right thickness for this time of year, and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Changes in temperature affect how oil lubricates the engine.

2.Check your anti-freeze-Anti-freeze or coolant, when broken down, will be unable to provide the necessary protection for your vehicle. Cooling system failure is the number one cause of engine-related breakdowns.

3.Inspect your windshield wipers and washer fluid-One of the least expensive preventative maintenance items for your vehicle is to replace your wiper blades and fill the windshield washer reservoir with freeze-resistant washer fluid.

4.Service your battery-Cold weather starts require a well-functioning charging system. Make sure the battery terminal ends are corrosion-free.

5.Check your tire pressure-Check the pressure when tires are cold, and set the pressure to the level that the manufacturer recommends. Worn tires decrease the traction between your vehicle and the road, and affects handling, braking and accelerating. These issues get worse in hazardous weather.

6.Check your lights, heater and defrosters-Winter months bring poor visibility conditions. Your vehicle needs to be as visible as possible, so ensure that all exterior lights function. Also, check that your heater and defrosters are working properly.

7.Inspect your belts and hoses-All of the rubber belts and hoses should be checked for heavy cracks or worn conditions.

8.Is your car due for a tune-up?-The cold weather increases the workload of the engine. A tune-up can prevent sluggish performance, poor gas mileage, and hard starts.

9.Have your car’s brake system checked-If you haven’t had the system inspected in the last six months, it’s time for this service.

10.Assemble a winter emergency kit-A winter emergency kit in the trunk prepares you for a sudden breakdown. It should include a blanket, extra boots and gloves, an ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, flares, a small snow shovel, a flashlight, non-clumping kitty litter (for traction when stuck in snow), and bottled water.

“In addition, you might want to have your exhaust system checked for leaks and keep your gas tank at least half full,” Monsen said. “This will help prevent moisture from freezing the gas lines.”

Along with following these tips, it’s also important to read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules. Not only will these tips keep you safe in the winter months but they can also improve your vehicle’s mileage while also preventing future repairs down the road.


Adv. – If you’re shopping for an auto loan, you’ll want to compare offers and find the auto protection you need to ensure that your investment lasts for many years.


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Categories: Campus Cars