As autumn heads into winter, it is important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the colder months. Here in North Carolina, we might not see as much snow as our friends to the north, but we still have plenty of colder days. The last thing you want during the winter is to be stranded in a broken down vehicle. With our winter car maintenance checklist, you can ensure that you’re ready for anything this season throws your way.
Our Winter Car Maintenance Checklist and Tips
We recommend bringing your car to Kernersville Auto Center at least once a year to keep it in good condition. This is a great time to get your annual maintenance done, so you can rest assured that your vehicle won’t break down in the cold weather. Here’s what we recommend checking during your routine vehicle maintenance:
- Car Battery – During the coldest months of the year, a battery that’s on its last legs can easily kick the bucket. We’ll check your battery to ensure there’s plenty of life left in it! That way, you won’t have to try to jump your battery in freezing weather.
- Tires – While we may not be driving in several feet of snow, it’s extremely likely that you will encounter some ice, sleet, or other slick road conditions. We can check the tread on your tires to see if it is too worn. If it is, we can replace your tires. We’ll also replace your tires if there are other problems that could indicate a blowout is coming soon.
- Wipers – If you run into foul weather, you’ll want excellent windshield wipers to clear away the snow, sleet, or rain. Visibility is important to navigate safely during a storm.
- Heat and Defroster – When battling cold temperatures, you’ll want to make sure you can stay warm and keep your windshields clear. Test your heating system and make sure that your defroster is working properly.
- Oil – Engine oil thickens slightly in cold weather. It’s important to make sure you change your oil on schedule, so it doesn’t thicken due to being dirty. We can change your oil and help you set up a regular schedule for this important vehicle maintenance.
If you have other concerns about driving in cold weather, we’d love to discuss them with you. In general, it makes sense to do a quick engine tune-up and full inspection just to make sure everything is working properly.
Winter Driving Checklist: Items to Keep in Your Car
In addition to making sure you take care of your car’s maintenance needs with our winter car maintenance checklist, it’s important to stock your vehicle with all the items you might need during the winter. We recommend a small emergency car kit that you keep in your vehicle all year long. However, here are a few extra items you may want to keep in your vehicle during the winter months:
- An ice scraper and brush
- Extra cold-weather windshield washer fluid
- A thick blanket
- Gloves and socks
- A small portable charger for your phone (make sure you check it regularly so it is always charged and ready to use!)
- Some easy-to-eat food like peanuts or granola bars
- Kitty litter or sand to provide traction if you get stuck
- A well-stocked first aid kit
- Jumper cables
- A small shovel
If the worst happens and you find yourself stranded by the road during a storm or cold weather, these items can help you stay safe. As temperatures plummet, having a stocked car can literally be the difference between life and death. We don’t mean to sound dramatic, but we’ve seen cases of people waiting hours or even days for rescue. We don’t want this to happen to you! Make sure your vehicle is ready for every contingency during the winter, even if scenarios are unlikely. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
FAQs About Winter Car Care
Here at Kernersville Auto Center, we are happy to answer any questions you have about maintaining your vehicle. We take pride in being able to explain our car maintenance and repair recommendations to all customers, even those who have little experience with vehicles. In our opinion, you should understand what we’re recommending so you can make the best decisions for your car. No question is too big or too small, so feel free to ask away! Here are a few questions our customers frequently ask.
How do I know if I need an engine tune-up?
It’s a good idea to get a tune-up about once a year as you are going down your winter car maintenance checklist. This service we provide ensures that your engine is running well. It can also catch potential problems. It’s almost always easier to prevent a problem than to repair your car later, and it certainly is safer, especially during the winter.
What other things can I do to protect my vehicle in the winter?
If your car is well-maintained, you should be safe to drive it during the winter. Our next best tip is to make sure you wash your vehicle regularly. The road salt used to keep drivers safe is very hard on your paint, and during the winter cars kick up slush. So, most people’s vehicles get dirty pretty quickly. Our car wash is convenient, and we even offer monthly passes so you can drive through whenever you want for one low price.
Why does my low tire light come on in the winter?
Tires lose air pressure when the temperature drops. Most tires should be inflated to between 30-35 psi, but it depends on your make and model, as well as the tire brand. You want to be careful not to over-inflate during cold weather.
Do I need an appointment?
If you need car maintenance or repair, you can bring you car in any time. However, we strongly suggest making an appointment, which allows our technicians to get to you more quickly. You can schedule an appointment online here or give us a call to set up a time that works for you.