Tips For Preparing Your Car For The Change In Seasons
In addition to regular vehicle maintenance, it’s important to take extra steps when the seasons change — particularly summer and winter. You may think that vehicle maintenance is the same for all seasons; however, every season has its challenges and your vehicle should be prepared for them.
Summer Car Maintenance
For summer, car maintenance should include:
- Checking the air conditioning
- Removing snow tires in the spring
- Swapping out the winter emergency kit for the summer emergency kit
Be sure to check the wiper fluid, the antifreeze, tire tread, brakes, suspension and steering, and the rest of the fluids. Since summer is the time for many road trips, you'll be glad you kept up with maintenance. What’s more, when you check everything ahead of time, you'll be more likely to find parts that are wearing, which means you'll lower the chances of a breakdown on a trip.
Winter Car-Care Readiness
During winter, there are more opportunities to get stuck while driving — thanks to snow, ice and sleet. Consider the following tips:
Emergency kit: The winter emergency kit should be extensive. If you do happen to get stuck because of the weather or break down, you could be stranded longer than if you were to be stranded during summer. Plus, it's a lot less comfortable. The emergency kit should include:
- Extra water
- High-energy nonperishable food such as peanut butter, granola bars and chocolate
- A blanket for every passenger
- A change of warm, dry clothing
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Reflective triangles
- Rubber boots
- A fire-starting kit
Everyone will be able to stay hydrated and warm, even if the vehicle runs out of gas while you are stranded.
Winter car preparation: In the list of car care tips, several should be checked for winter. Make sure the exhaust system does not have any leaks. Since you are more apt to ride with the windows tightly closed in cold weather, carbon monoxide could seep into the vehicle from an exhaust leak.
Antifreeze is also another important item to check. Depending on the antifreeze your vehicle uses and the type of driving you do, you should change it every two or five years. You should also change it if you've topped it off with plain water during the past season. Antifreeze keeps the engine block from freezing in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit if the system has 52.5 percent antifreeze.
Tires are also very important. If you have summer tires, you'll need to put snow tires on the vehicle. This is a guessing game: You don't want to do it too early as the heat from the roads takes its toll on the softer winter tires. However, you don't want to be stuck in that first snowstorm with summer tires. If you use all-season tires, make sure the tread is deep. In most cases, you can leave the tires on the vehicle until the tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch. You'll need more than that during snowstorms, so if the tire depth is even close to being that shallow, change the tires.
Picking Up a Vehicle at Capital Auto Auction
After you win a vehicle at Capital Auto Auction, be sure to check all fluids, the brake system, steering and suspension, and the exhaust system to ensure that the vehicle is ready for winter driving. Since these vehicles are “as is,” it's up to you to ensure that they’re safe for winter driving. Contact us today to learn more!