The smell of fall is in the air, with winter nipping closely at its heels. Plans to winterize your house are probably already in the works, but how about your vehicle? No question that your vehicle is a beast and show stopper when on or off-road, but it still needs a little TLC before cold winter temps are upon us. Here's what you need to know to get your truck or Jeep ready for the cold winter months ahead.
As you already know, your vehicle should be receiving regular tune-ups. Look ahead to the next tune-up. If it is going to happen during winter, consider having it done a little early to ensure your truck is in tip-top shape. Multiple components should be checked, including:
- Fan belts
- Spark plugs
- Filters (air, fuel, emission, etc.)
- PCV valve
Fresh Oil Change
A healthy engine requires frequent oil changes all year long. However, during the winter months, it is even more critical. Due to freezing temperatures, your vehicle will most likely require a thinner oil during the winter. Be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations on the right type of oil to use during cold weather.
Are Your Tires in Good Shape?
Winter months bring with it hazards, including ice and snow on the roads. The last thing you want is to go through winter with an unsafe set of tires. Check the following on your tires to make sure they are roadworthy:
- Tread - Ensure there is sufficient tread left
- Air pressure - Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the proper amount of air pressure
- Defects - Check for any defects, including bulges, tearing, or unusual wear
Replace any tires which are deemed unsafe or even trade your current tires out for a set of snow tires.
Check the Engine Coolant
In most weather conditions, a coolant to water ratio of 50/50 is acceptable. However, during the winter, the ratio of coolant to water should be a little higher. In many cases, 60/40 will do the trick. However, be sure to check your owner's manual for specifics about your vehicle's make and model.
Make Sure Your Battery Has Plenty of Life Left
Batteries use more power to fire up your vehicle's engine in the winter months than in the summer. A faulty or low battery will have a hard time cranking your truck, or worse, it may not even crank at all. Have your battery checked to ensure there is enough charge left by either a voltmeter or taking it to your mechanic. Also, check for cracks and corrosion and replace if damaged.
Ensure Your Defroster and Heater is in Working Order
Not only is your heater a creature comfort during the winter months, but it helps make sure your windshield and windows stay clear so you can drive safely. Make any necessary repairs. You will thank yourself in the dead of winter during freezing temperatures.
Replenish Windshield Fluid and Wipers
During freezing temps, your windshield fluid needs to have an antifreeze solution to keep the solution from freezing, making it unusable. Windshield wipers are the second component to check. A good rule of thumb is to replace wipers every 6 months to a year. If yours haven't been changed recently, put a fresh set on.
Is Your 4-Wheel Drive Functioning?
You never know when you will need 4-wheel drive to get out of a sticky situation. Prior to the first snowstorm, test out your vehicle's 4-wheel drive and make sure it is functioning properly. You may even consider installing a custom winch to ensure you're never left stranded.
Keep Your Gas Tank Full
Condensation can accumulate in an empty or extremely low gas tank. Water will then drip into the gas, sink to the bottom, end up in the fuel lines and freeze. If your fuel lines freeze, gas is unable to reach your engine. It is advisable to keep at least 1/4 tank of gas at all times.
Ready for Winter Customizations?
Carolina Customs is the leading customization shop on the east coast. Whatever mod you want, we can help you get it. Visit our showroom to check out your options in person. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have. No job is too big or too small; contact us today!