Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

Winter is just around the corner, and here in the Midwest that means some cold weather challenges for your vehicle to overcome. Modern cars and trucks are certainly designed to handle cold conditions, but that doesn’t mean freezing temperatures and persistent precipitation won’t still do damage to your property. It’s better to be prepared and get your vehicle winterized before the snow starts falling.

At Friedrich’s Auto & Truck, we know the last thing people want to think about it fixing up their vehicle to better deal with the winter months. We could all do without the hassle! That’s why we’ve gone and made things easy with this short guide to help you get started on winterizing your vehicles. Read on for more information or head into our location in Rice, Minnesota, near St. Cloud.

Regular Maintenance

While there might be better times to get your vehicle in tip-top shape, the months leading up to winter are your last chance if you want to protect it. Regular maintenance means taking care of any scheduled service and general repair that’s been neglected. Whether that means a scheduled tune-up or just an oil change, the attention can help to prevent major damage stemming from minor problems.

Change or top off all fluids, including engine oil, coolant, as well as brake and transmission fluid. This is also a good time to take a look at air filters; you might even consider upgrading to a high-quality filter to deal with winter weather.

The battery is another spot that can use some love. Professional attention might be necessary here, so make sure to have the charge checked if you do go in for pre-winter service.

You should definitely take a look at your brakes and other safety components, as their operation will be vital should you run into trouble on an ice-slicked road. Check the rotors for warps and cracks, and replace the pads long before they wear down completely. Lights are another important safety component, and we all know those winter evenings can be dark as midnight. Test the front and back lights and replace bulbs as necessary.

The same goes for your windshield wipers, which can seem like a less-than-important feature until you’re deep in a winter storm and have reduced visibility already. If you haven’t replaced them in the last year, it’s as good as time now as any! Finally, make sure the wiper fluid is filled with freeze-resistant fluid.

Tire Pressure and Tread Condition

While nothing beats a total service job, including tire rotation and inspection, you should be able to take care of basic tire maintenance yourself. We suggest being cautious and going with tires that are designed to work in winter conditions, but that might not be a realistic option for some.

Whatever you do, give the tires you’re going to use a solid inspection.

Start with checking the air pressure with a simple gauge. Adjust the PSI as need. Next remove any foreign objects lodged in the tread. While it’s great they didn’t cause damage on previous drives, you don’t want anything coming loose down the road to muck things up. Move on to checking the tread for wear. Tires only last so long, and you don’t want to be driving on ineffective tires! You should also compare tread wear between front and back tires, which could lead you to finding an issue elsewhere and likely in the tire alignment.

The tire wall deserves your attention too, as any scrapes, bumps, cracks, and scalping could indicate it’s time for a replacement.

Keep Winter Supplies Stocked

Especially if you’ll be driving often in extreme winter conditions, you’ll want to keep your vehicle stocked with supplies. Blankets and other cold-weather clothes can be a big help, as are water-resistant gloves. You’ll also want supplies to help with any basic vehicle problems, like jumper cables, a flashlight, chains for the tires, a small shovel to dig out snow, an ice scraper to clear the windshield, and even a bag of sand to throw down for extra traction. Some supplies to keep you and your passengers going include first-aid kit, flares, non-perishable snacks, matches, and a pocket knife.

Winterizing your vehicle can be a chore, but it’s a chore that will keep your property in the best condition possible. Hopefully we’ve helped get you started. Ensure that your investment survives to see another spring by taking the proper steps to get it ready. If you still have winterization questions, or want to get your vehicle inspected, head into Friedrich’s Auto & Truck in Rice, Minnesota, near St. Cloud and serving Fargo, Duluth, and Minneapolis.