Winter Reminders for Every Driver: The Right Maintenance Steps (Part III)

December 11, 2008

Note to Reader: Still don’t have my train horns in place, but I’m pretty sure I’ll manage to install it by the end of the year. <<< Now, see the importance of planning things in advance? Setting your auto-related “goal” well in advance gives you time to plan out your actions. Right now, I’m still a bit busy winter-proofing my neighbor’s vehicle—for a pretty good price too! I’m still trying to decide whether to say “yes” to Rum Raisin Apple Pie (?) or Bittersweet Choco Pecan Pie. What do you think? Which one would be better for Christmas Eve?

Okay, with that question having been asked, let’s get back to our winter tips, shall we? So in the last post about winter reminders, you were asked to keep your headlights fully-functioning, keep your gas tank as close to FULL as possible, and to check your tire pressure levels. The next few tips should cover winter-proofing your engine cooling system and windshield. So, without further ado, let’s get back to business.



Tip #6: Inspect your Cooling System and Check your Water-Coolant/Antifreeze Levels.

Coolant or antifreeze, is basically the (usually) bright-colored solution that goes inside your vehicle’s radiator. Most of the time, cars run using a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant—but to be sure, it’s always best to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions regarding the correct water-coolant mixture.

Now, during winter, it’s always good advice for you to keep your water-coolant levels as close to full as possible. You’re probably wondering:

“Why add water-coolant mixture when it’s winter?” Well, even if it’s winter, your engine still heats up pretty fast, especially when you’re traveling long distances. I say, just don’t risk it! An overheating engine can cause a lot of problems under your hood. Plus, coolant helps keep your engine operating properly—it’s the best way to winter-proof your cooling system and to prolong your engine’s life.

Also, don’t make the mistake of adding 100 percent pure coolant into your radiator. Coolant freezes easily. The water’s there to help keep your coolant well below freezing point. If the coolant freezes up, expect it to expand and to kick out your engine block faster than you can say “mother-quacker”. And if you’re not sure about the freeze rating of your vehicle’s coolant, then I suggest you get one of those itsy-bitsy testers they sell in your local garage or parts store. Try to stay as far away from your coolant’s freezing point to avoid shelling out for a new engine block.

I hope you remembered to perform your annual radiator flush last spring! And now that we’re done with antifreeze/coolant discussion, let’s head on to the next topic: winter-proofing your windshield wiper!

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