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Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter Driving

Car driving on snow road

With winter looming on the horizon, it’s a good time to review this checklist to make sure that your vehicle – and you – are ready for the joys of winter driving. If you spend about 60 minutes going through the items on this checklist while inspecting your car, you’ll be halfway to being ready for winter. The second half is getting your vehicle in for seasonal maintenance performed by a certified technician. TGK Automotive has five locations in the Twin Cities where you will find certified technicians providing high-quality car care to clients. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) has a great winter preparation checklist for your vehicle that we wanted to share with drivers in the Twin Cities.

So what’s on the AAA Winter Vehicle Care Checklist?

Battery and Charging System – Get them checked by a certified technician. You need a fully charged battery in good condition if you want your engine to be reliable in the winter.

Battery Cables and Terminals – Check the condition of the battery cables and terminals. Make sure all connections are secure and remove any corrosion from the terminals and posts.

Drive Belts – Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Don’t just look at the smooth top surface of the belt, but turn it over and check the grooved underside where most belt wear occurs.

Engine Hoses – Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling and in need of replacement.

Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires will work well in light to moderate snow conditions, providing they have adequate tread depth. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear on the tires can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that should be addressed to prevent further damage to the tires.

Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure more frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And, don’t forget to check the spare.

Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. The level of antifreeze protection can be checked with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.

Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In areas with snowy conditions, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the rubber blade and the glass.

Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.

Brakes – Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Emergency Road Kit – Update the car’s emergency kit for winter weather. The kit should include:

  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Gloves, hats and blankets
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks (energy or granola bars)
  • Extra clothes
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers programmed in it, including a roadside assistance provider

 

Give us a call today at TGK Automotive if your vehicle needs repair or maintenance. Or check out our special offers on our website for a coupon by clicking here.

Maplewood – (651) 489-9455

1728 Rice St.

Maplewood, MN 55113

Hugo – (651) 407-3611

5241 130th St. N.

Hugo, MN 55038

Crystal – (763) 535-1716

5337 Edgewood Ave. N

Crystal, MN 55428

St. Paul – 3M Campus – (651) 739-2351

2545 Conway Ave.

St Paul, MN 55119

Bloomington – (952) 881-6454

9209 Lyndale Avenue South

Bloomington, MN 55420

 

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