PALESTINE — As winter weather sets in, and thoughts turn to annual holiday road trips, car care officials are reminding drivers that a little pre-season maintenance is all it takes to make sure you make it 'over the river and through the woods.'
Extended cold temperatures can wreak havoc on some key systems in many vehicles, even in East Texas where winters aren't known to get too harsh.
“The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather,” Car Care Council Executive Director Rich White said in a release published at the Car Care Council's website, www.carcare.org. “A vehicle check before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.”
The site, and local auto repair technicians, recommend these steps to make sure your car is ready for winter driving:
• If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
• Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Replace batteries that are four years old or older.
• Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
“Your car's cooling system operates the heater and defrost, too,” said Jennifer Gaines, with Mike Gaines Garage in Palestine. “So if something happens to the cooling system, your heater isn't going to work either.”
• Make sure wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
• Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.