Winter Car Care—A Twelve Point Checklist

Prior to the winter driving season, when conditions can be less than ideal and colder temperatures demand more of your vehicle, it makes sense to take preventive measures to ensure you vehicle is roadworthy. This information is taken from Michigan Living and is published by the Automobile Club of Michigan.

  1. Check battery terminals for corrosion. Terminals can be cleaned with a wire brush dipped in baking soda and water.
  2. Check the antifreeze strength in the radiator with a hydrometer. Antifreeze should be clean, at the proper level and provide protection to 36 degrees below zero.
  3. Check the oil level with the dipstick. Add oil when needed. Check the owner's manual for the intervals between changes and for the recommended SAE viscosity.
  4. Keep the brake fluid level within a quarter-inch from the top of the reservoirs.
  5. Follow directions in the owner's manual for power steering fluid. If fluid is needed, add slowly to avoid overfilling.
  6. The car should be on level ground in "park" position with the engine running to check the automatic transmission fluid.
  7. Press the middle of each belt to test tension. If it gived more than 1 to 1.5 inches, tighten or replace it. Check hoses for cracks or fraying. Replace as needed.
  8. Hold the air filter up to a light. If you can't see the light through it, replace it.
  9. Keep the windshield washer reservoir filled with solvent.
  10. Replace wipers if they are split, leave streaks, or skip.
  11. Make sure the lights and signals work. Replace bulbs as necessary.
  12. Inspect tire tread wear and maintain proper pressure indicated inthe owner's manual. Check pressure with a gauge when tires are cold.