Fri 18 Nov 2011
Winter is quickly approaching the North State and it’s about time to think about winterizing your car. Preparing your car for winter is a little different if you are living in the warmer Redding and Red Bluff area then is you are in Mount Shasta or Yreka or near the coastal towns of Crescent City or Eureka but many things remain the same.
Winter means bad weather, wherever you live in Northern California. For the more temperate areas like Redding or along the coast that likely means making sure you have sufficient tread on your tires to keep you from hydroplaning when it starts to rain. If you are in the mountain areas then it’s time to check the snow tires and see if they need to be replaced.
Don’t forget to check your snow chains also. This is a good time to make sure they are clean, have a light coat of oil to keep them from rusting and have fresh rubbers if you need to use bands to keep the chain tight on the tire.
While you may have been putting up with a little pulling when you hit the brakes during the summer (not really a good idea), this can easily mean a spinout in snow or rain. Having your brakes checked for uneven wear is a good idea.
Oil and Coolant
It’s not uncommon to use one weight of oil for the summer and another for the winter. If you check your owner’s manual you will likely find that the manufacturer recommends different oil for different temperature ranges. Most of Northern California experiences a wide range of temperatures. Be sure you have the right oil for what you expect for the upcoming months.
Having a radiator shop check your antifreeze/coolant is a good idea before the heavy winter months as well as right before the heavy summer months.
Likely you will be using your wiper fluid far more often in the winter, be sure it is full. Also, you live in the colder snowy areas it’s best to use a commercial windshield wiper fluid. Commercial fluid is designed to help keep ice and snow from forming on your windows. This is very helpful in a storm.
It’s also not a bad idea to treat your windows with a treatment like Rain-X to help water bead off your windows. That along with some new blades treaded with silicon will help keep your windows clear. An anti fog treatment can also be applied to the inside of the windows to assist in being sure you can see clearly.
Winter Emergency kits
If you are planning to drive in the snow, don’t skimp on your emergency kit. These should include Flares, a blanket, and flashlight. Also it is a very good idea to have a gallon of drinking water and a few snacks. On the off chance that you have an accident and are on the side of the road a day or two, these items can be the difference between life and death.
It’s also time to check the battery. A marginal battery that has been able to start your car fine in the summer may not be able to in the cold of winter. Battery shops can check to see if you battery is still holding a full charge and if your system is capable of bringing it to a full charge. This is also a good time to check fluid levels and be sure the cables and connectors are clean and in good shape. Nothing quite beats being stuck in the cold due to a weak battery.
While this may seem to be a lot of work it is well worth it. Usually a good tire shop can perform all or at least most of these checks, with the rest of them being checked at one of the oil change businesses. That means a couple hours and two stops can help prevent an accident or being stuck on the side of the road in bad weather.