Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

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With summer coming to a close and cool weather approaching, now is the time to think about getting your vehicles prepared for winter. While we don't see a lot of snow in the Savannah, GA area, it can still get down right chilly. The colder weather is hard on your engine and your vehicle in general. Vaden Automotive Group wants to make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the up coming winter. Here are a few items that should be checked when getting your car ready for winter.
 

Battery

 
In order for your vehicle to start properly in colder weather, your motor needs to be fully charged. When looking over the condition of your battery, make sure that your battery post are cleaned and have it tested. Also check the charging system and belts to make sure they are all working properly.
 

Ignition system

 
Checking your ignition system is just as important as having your battery checked. The last thing you want to to go to work on a cold morning and not have your vehicle start. Be sure to check the ignition wires, spark plugs, and the distributor cap.
 

Lights

 
Your lights are something that should be checked year round, but it gets darker sooner during the winter months. Plus there’s the snow that reduces visibility as well. So to endure that you can see properly, have all your lights checked.
 

Brakes

While it may snow every 10 years in the Low Country and Coastal Empire, it is important that your brakes work properly. Check your brakes to ensure even braking. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean they need repair.
 

Windshield Wipers
 

When the weather turns cold it begins to rain or snow. You will want to make sure that your wipers are working correctly. Rain and snow will restrict visibility. Check the wipers to make sure that no streaking occurs.

Heating and cooling system

 
To prevent a sudden breakdown in the cooler months, be sure to check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Plus, make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat work properly. Also, test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze. To keep yourself toasty warm in the vehicle, you will need to make sure that the heater and defroster work properly.
 

Tires

 
Checking your tires may be the most important step to getting your vehicle ready for winter. The tire pressure should be checked, this includes the spare tire. Properly inflated tires will give you best traction on winter roads and increase fuel efficiency. Plus, the tire should be checked for the proper amount of tread and any possible damage to the tire.
 

 


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Emergency Car Kit
If you have had your license for a while, you know that anything can happen. You can break down anywhere at any moment. And usually it’s usually out in the middle of nowhere. If you are lucky your cell phone will work, you have a membership with an auto club, or you have OnStar. As for the the unlucky ones, you will either have to hail a passing car or spend the night where your car broke down.

To make sure that you are prepared for all situations, keep a roadside emergency kit in your car at all time. It can mean the difference between getting back on the road or being stuck for a long time waiting on help or rescue. Some of the basic items include:
  • At least two roadside flares
  • a quart of oil
  • small first aid kit
  • extra fuses
  • flashlight
  • A multipurpose tool commonly containing pliers, wire cutters, knife, saw, bottle opener, screwdrivers, files and an awl
  • tire inflator
  • rags
  • pocket knife
  • pen and paper
  • a help sign
  • emergency blanket.
This will all take up minimal room in your trunk if you have a smaller car or little trunk space. But if you have a large SUV or full sized truck that can haul more stuff, here are some other items that might come in handy:
  • 12-foot jumper cables
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • First aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin)
  • Flat head screwdrivers
  • Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Vise Grips
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Ice scraper
  • Granola or energy bars
  • Bottled water
  • And heavy-duty nylon bag to carry it all in.
There are a few companies that offer pre-assembled emergency roadside kits. While these kits contain the basics items in a small convenient carrier, you might want to a supplement yours with a few of the items listed above to suit your needs. Before you actually use your kit in an emergency situation, take some time to familiarize yourself with the items you've collected and learn how to use them properly. Unfortunately, there isn't one tool for all your roadside emergencies, but with a little planning and a little trunk space, an emergency roadside kit can save the day.
See our expert tips!

 

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Five Easy Auto Fixes
Even with the advanced technology and computerized automotive systems that most vehicles come equipped with, there are still simple maintenance tasks that you can do that will save you time and money.

This list of DIY car maintenance projects requires few tools and no experience. If you've hung a picture or pounded a nail, you can tackle any one of them. By doing these jobs yourself, not only save money, but there are added benefits. And who knows, you just might like the hands-on experience enough that you'll move on to other DIY projects.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Properly Inflate Your Tires

The average consumer doesn’t realize the importance of properly inflated tires. If your tires are under-inflated, it can decrease your fuel economy, costing you hundreds of dollars. Take 15 minutes, once a month and make sure your tires are properly inflated. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and an air pump. If you don’t have an air pump, you can usually find one at a gas station.

Reducing fuel cost should not be the only reason you keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can improve safety by improving handling during emergency braking and cornering, prolong tire life.

Tire Rotation

Tires tend to wear differently depending upon where they are on the vehicle. Front tires often wear faster than rear tires because braking and cornering is more demanding on them. Plus, you can save approximately $120 a year and all you need is an jack stand, tire iron, car jack, and about an hour of your time.

When rotating your tires, be sure to follow the rotation pattern laid out in your owners manual. Also, check for defects and premature wear. You may be able to spot a foreign object in your tire that is causing a leak.

Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter only takes five minutes and will keep dirt out of your engine and improve fuel economy. Plus, it can save you $60 in labor costs. All you will need is an air filter, which you can pick up at any parts store, and a screwdriver. To find out how often to change your air filter, refer to your owners manual. If you live in an area with lots of dust, you will need to change your air filter more often.

Replace Bulbs and Fuses

While it may not cost much for a mechanic to change a bulb or fuse, many shops markup the price for the part. Plus, you have to drive to the garage and wait around. Instead, just pick up the bulbs and fuses from you local automotive parts store and look at refer to your owners manual.

Before you begin changing any bulb, review the instructions and take a look at the access point first. If it looks a little too tight, then take your car to the pros and let them change the headlight or taillight bulb for you. On the other hand, the fuse compartment in easy to reach. You may have to look at the electrical chart in your owner’s manual in order to find the right fuse.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

An oil change is one of the more advanced item on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Anyone with a little mechanical knowledge and the right tools can change their own oil. Plus, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing it yourself. All you need is:

  • A Car jack
  • Oil pan for Catching the Old Oil
  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil-filter Wrench
  • Recycling Bottles for the Oil
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Engine Oil
  • Oil Filter
See our expert tips!

 

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Brake Pads and Rotors
There are many components to the breaking system, and while all these components may seem daunting, the braking system is DIY friendly, especially the brake pads and rotors. Brake pads and rotors are two components of the braking system that need changing the most. Brake pads tend to wear down due to the friction that they encounter when the drive presses on the brake pedal. If they wear down enough, they can wear grooves into the rotors which will mean replacing or turning the rotors as well.

DIY Brake Pads

When it is time to change your brake pads, you don’t necessarily have to take the vehicle into the shop. A brake pad replacement is something that you can do yourself. While it may seem a little daunting, it is actually quite easy. Brake pads are easily accessible aren’t a hassle to change. They are the perfect maintenance item for a DIYer to tackle.


DIY Brake Rotor

When brake rotors are damaged by worn brake pads or road debris, they will either need to be turned or replaced. Sometimes turning rotors will be sufficient enough smooth out the grooves within the brake rotors. If the rotors need turning, then the vehicle will have to be taken to a repair shop to have a mechanic turn the rotors. But, if they need changing, then it is a task that you could do yourself. There are no special tools that are needed and as long as you have a jack, they are easily accessible.

By changing the brake pad and rotors yourself, not only can you save tons of money, but you can also help to maintain the validity of your factory warranty and extended auto warranty if applicable. If something within the braking system fails due to the lack of maintenance of your brake pads and brake rotors, then your warranty may not cover the cost of repairs. So, if you are up for the task, then tackle the brake pads and brake rotors and maintain your Do it Yourself (DIY) status.

See our expert tips!

 

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