We don’t need to remind you that this summer was a hot one in the Valley. Temperatures reached 118 degrees on June 19 and 116 the next day, before summer even officially began on June 21. On average, Phoenix sees 109 days a year of 100-degree temps; this year was slightly lower, at only 97 days. Now that things are starting to cool down for us, don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency. We may not have to contend with the bitter, cold-to-the-bone temps forecast for much of the nation this winter, but it’s going to be getting colder in Arizona, and that means you should make sure your vehicle is ready for winter. Here are a few tips from the crew here at Ric’s Body & Paint.
Check your oil.
While you should make sure you get regular oil changes throughout the year, it’s especially important when you’re going to be driving in cooler temperatures. You may need to use a thinner oil. You should check your owner’s manual, and with your mechanic, to make sure your oil will get you through the winter.
Inspect your tires.
There’s a myth that reducing the amount of air in your tires in the winter, especially for those traveling to Flagstaff, Tucson or the White Mountains to enjoy the snow, can help your tires get better traction. Experts say that’s not true, and that you should always stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations on tire pressure. If you visit the snow, you many even need chains or snow tires.
Check your battery.
When it’s cold, your engine needs more current from the battery in order to start. That’s why you want to make sure your battery is working properly. Have your mechanic ensure you have enough charge left in your battery, check the fluid and look at the cables around the battery.
Make sure your exhaust system is in good shape.
If there is an exhaust leak in your system, carbon monoxide could seep into the passenger compartment, creating a very dangerous situation. That’s because when you run your defroster you’re pulling in fresh air, and if you have an exhaust leak, that air will be mixed in with those dangerous fumes. To be on the safe side, the next time you bring your car into your mechanic have them look over your exhaust system.
Ensure your defroster and heater are working correctly.
Check for air leaks around your windows and doors. Don’t wait until it’s freezing to make sure you’ll be warm when you drive.
Overall general maintenance.
Check your headlights, running lights and turn signals, and have your mechanic inspect your hoses and belts, wiring, brakes, ignition, spark plugs and filters.
Keep your gas tank filled.
Cold weather can cause condensation to form in an empty gas tank. That water can drip down into your gas and sink to the bottom, where it can freeze into your fuel lines. To avoid that from happening, make sure your tank is always one-quarter to one-half full.
Keep an emergency kit in your trunk.
Here are some items you should include in your comprehensive vehicle emergency kit.