Darrell Rich, Car-Mart’s Purchasing Trainer.

Get your vehicle ready for winter

Darrell Rich, Car-Mart’s Purchasing Trainer and automotive expert, shares seven tips on winterizing your vehicle.

Temperatures are dropping. Days are shorter. Before cold weather sets in, it’s the ideal time to get your vehicle ready for winter.

“There are two major swings in weather throughout the year. Extreme heat in the summer is hard on a vehicle. And likewise, extreme cold is also hard on a vehicle. So, you must prepare for both types of weather conditions,” says Darrell Rich, Car-Mart’s Purchasing Trainer and automotive expert.

Preparing your vehicle for winter

Here is Darrell’s seven step checklist on ensuring your vehicle is ready for cold weather. He also explains why each step is crucial as part of your preventative maintenance process.

Darrell Rich checking the radiator temperature.
Darrell Rich checking the radiator temperature.

1. Check the coolant in your vehicle
It is important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. “Anti-freeze lowers the freeze point and protects your engine. So, checking the anti-freeze is one of the first things to check,” says Darrell. “It’s not an expensive thing to do. Plus, it’s crucial to the overall life of the engine.”

2. Test the battery
Cold temperatures make it harder for an engine to work properly. For peace of mind, have your battery checked before the cold weather arrives and replace it if necessary. “If you don’t have a solid battery, it won’t want to start your vehicle when the temperature drops below 30 degrees,” Darrell says.

Darrell Rich checking the tire pressure.
Darrell Rich checking the tire pressure.

3. Check the air pressure on your tires
Changing temperatures can lead to uneven tire pressure, which can impact overall wear and tear on your tires and can also impact your overall safety. “Weather change brings differences in tire volume which lowers your tire pressure. During the heat of the summer, as the air gets warm, your tires will expand, and you’ll have good pressure. As the temperature drops, you won’t have good pressure,” says Darrell.

4. Inspect belts and hoses
Colder temperatures can split hoses and break belts, so replace them if necessary. “You want to go into winter knowing you’re not going to blow a hose or belt,” says Darrell.

Darrell Rich checking the windshield wiper blades.
Darrell Rich checking the windshield wiper blades. Replace if torn like this one.

5. Ensure your windshield wipers are fully functional with ample washer fluid

Maximum visibility is key in inclement weather so make sure you have good, effective wiper blades and adequate all-season washer fluid.

6. Check heater and defroster
This tip is often over-looked. “On that cold morning when there is frost on the window, you need heat on the window so make sure the fans are working on all settings,” Darrell advises.

7. Check the condition of windshield, lights and blinkers
Make sure you can see and be seen. Ensure your windshield, lights and blinkers are clean and not foggy. “Since you’ll be driving more in the dark, you’ll want your wind shield to be clear, your lights to not fog over and your blinkers to be seen by other drivers,” says Darrell.

“These seven tips will ensure you are ready for winter and provide you with peace of mind about your vehicle,” says Darrell, who also recommends including a roadside emergency car care kit in your vehicle. Read our emergency kit blog for what to include in your kit.

Finally, check our blog articles on preventive maintenance tips for your vehicle:
Car-Mart’s maintenance check list
8 things to know about oil changes
The importance of tire rotation
When to check your brakes
Washing your car is preventative maintenance

Has your vehicle reached the end of its life expectancy and time for a new one? Let us put you in an affordable, quality, used vehicle today. Check out our inventory at one of our locations or go online at https://www.car-mart.com/find-a-car.

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