Before you head over the river and through the woods, it’s important to ensure your car is equipped to travel in a winter wonderland. While winter in Arizona isn’t as intense as some other areas of the country, temperatures do drop down pretty low, especially in higher elevations. So, what can you do to ensure your car is ready to travel to grandma’s house or anywhere else this winter? Simple maintenance can help keep your car in tip-top shape so you can focus on the road and enjoying time with friends or family this season.
All summer long your car toughed out the dry, hot, and dusty conditions brought on by monsoons and record-breaking heat. While you’re retiring your swimsuit and shorts for the season and pulling out sweaters and blue jeans to prepare yourself for winter, so too must you prepare your car for winter. While a sweater won’t fit your car, we’ve got the perfect list of things that will more appropriately prep your car for winter.
Replace Filters – This includes air, fuel, and cabin filters. Every time you drive, your vehicle picks up dirt, debris, and other contaminants that are trapped in the filters to prevent them from entering the cabin area or areas that could cause trouble for the engine. Replacing your filters protects your engine, reduces emissions, and increases fuel efficiency, saving you money at the pump.
Change Oil Regularly – In the Phoenix area, you’re likely to encounter heavy traffic at some point. The constant stop and go conditions and short trips are hard on your engine. The best way to protect your engine and extend its life is by having your oil and the filter changed every 3,000 – 5,000 miles, depending on the type of oil your vehicle requires. Oil reduces friction, lubricates components to prevent metal to metal wear, and helps to keep certain components in the engine cool.
Check Your Cooling System – Cars can’t overheat in the winter, right? Not exactly. Even though ambient temperatures are cooler, your engine still gets hot and needs to be cooled. Plus, did you know that the cooling system also helps keep you and your passengers warm and comfortable as you drive? In fact, low levels of coolant in the radiator, often due to a leak in the system, can cause your heater to malfunction. Check your fluid levels (before you start your car) often and have a coolant flush performed every 30,000 miles.
Check Your Heater and Defroster – Before temperatures drop too low, and you’re faced with a chilly morning that has you shivering, test the function of your heater and both front and rear (if applicable) defrosters. It’s important to ensure these functions are operable because, in addition to keeping warm on those frigid mornings, you’ll also need to defrost your windshield so that you can see the road.
Replace Wiper Blades – While we rarely see snow in the valley, we do get a fair amount of rain in the winter months. Plus, if you’re driving up to the northern region of the state, where you’re likely to encounter snow, you’ll need functioning wiper blades to see out your windshield. You may even want to consider upgrading to winter blades for frequent travels to higher elevations.
Have Your Battery Tested – A battery test can be completed in mere minutes by a professional technician to help clue you in as to your battery’s condition. It’s no fun to be left in the cold—or any temperature for that matter, with a dead battery. A fully charged battery measures at about 12.7 volts or more. If the voltage falls below 12.5, the battery should be recharged as soon as possible. Batteries are completely dead once they fall to 11.9 volts. Modern vehicles require a much higher amount of voltage to keep up with the demand for electronic use. As a result, the starter may struggle to start up once the battery gets low on charge.
Check Tires & Alignment – Tire pressure often drops right along with temperatures. Check the pressure of each of your tires and inspect their condition. Look for uneven tread wear, cupping, and nicks or cuts on the sidewalls. Make sure your tires are rotated every 10,000 miles and don’t forget about your spare. If you do happen to have a flat tire while on the road, a flat spare will do you no good. Additionally, make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly aligned. Poor alignment and underinflated tires can accelerate tire wear and affect gas mileage.
Brakes – No matter the weather, it is imperative your brakes are in proper working condition. Brakes are the number one safety device in your vehicle. Ideally, your brakes should be inspected at each oil change to monitor wear.
Be prepared for wintry weather with Sun Devil Auto by your side. Our oil change services, performed by our professional Technicians, include a multi-point inspection and tire rotation to ensure your vehicle is safe for travel. Keeping track of routine maintenance on your vehicle is a breeze with us, too! Our friendly Service Consultants can keep you informed on what maintenance services your car needs when you can expect to have them performed to prevent any headaches on the road, and most importantly, to extend the life of your vehicle. Schedule your next maintenance service with Sun Devil Auto before you head out on your next wintry adventure!