Stay cool in the cold with these tech tips

Dear TTAC readers,

Thank you so much for your patience during the last two weeks of my absence as I dealt with family issues. Unfortunately, the weather is what it is and family members get older and as much as we try to prepare, it still happens.

For this week I would like to talk about a topic that I am sure has been covered in the past but it is always good to touch up when the seasons change.

That’s right, let’s go ahead and talk about the things we need to check and make sure for the winter months that will be upon us soon.

Depending on where you live will dictate the importance of certain checkpoints on your vehicle. A good number of these should be on a routine maintenance schedule, but let’s look at what to watch for over the winter. If you live in a much colder climate, most of these will be much more important than, say, if you live in the south where it’s not as cold.

Let’s go ahead and start under the hood, where there are several types of fluids worth checking out. One of which is windshield washer fluid, it is very important that the freezing threshold is lower than you can expect in the deepest winters where you live. You can buy some with a deicing additive that will help you on those cold and icy days.

Antifreeze/coolant is also important to check in your vehicle, as long as you have a radiator and are not running an older air-cooled car like some of us. Go out and get an ethylene glycol antifreeze tester if you don’t already have one, you won’t use it often, but when needed it’s pretty good to use. With that, go ahead and test the antifreeze to make sure it can keep up in any kind of situation and not freeze. Any type of 50/50 antifreeze purchased will maintain the standards we see during the deep winter, but it’s always nice to have peace of mind knowing that it will do its job.

Check the date on the battery and if you have the ability to test the cranking amps I highly recommend it. Old batteries that start to die usually fail when it gets really cold and being stranded somewhere with a dead battery in the cold of winter is no fun at all.

Also, while you’re there, do a good visual scan of any of the other parts of the engine, make sure the belts look good, the hoses, and pretty much all the normal items that need to be inspected on a regular basis.

Aside from the mechanical parts on your car, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the correct tires for the conditions and that the current condition of your tires is up to the job, worn tires won’t provide the kind of traction to drive safely. safe. drive and must be replaced. Also, it is a good thing to be aware of the tire compound you are using on your vehicle. Most vehicles on the road have an all-season tire that will for the most part work, but in much colder areas, a good winter tire that has a softer compound that won’t harden like a rock when worn. freeze. is better. As you check your tires, make sure your spare tire is properly inflated, that is, if you actually have a spare, and make sure your tire changing tools are all there.

After all of this you should really take a quick walk to make sure all your lights are working and if you have fog lights, that they are operational. Take a look at your windshield wipers and if they are splitting or wearing out, they should be replaced. There are a couple of things that are generally a good idea to keep in the trunk or storage area of ​​your vehicle. A spare jacket or blanket, some gloves, and jumper cables. Oddly enough, a pack of kitty litter can be a huge lifesaver if the wheels spin on some ice. You’ll be amazed how much it will spray in front of your drive tires.

Overall, these are just a couple of quick and easy things to check that will make your life a little easier on those cold winter days. Okay, there are also deeper things, but I didn’t want to overdo the information.

Stay safe and enjoy the season.

If you have a specific technical question, feel free to email me at


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