Now that winter is fast upon us, it is time to spend a little time preparing our vehicles for the elements. Beyond the regular preventative maintenance you should be performing on your vehicle year round– oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations and alignments, etc– winter does bring with it a set of its own checkups that you can do on your own. Whether you drive a passenger car, a truck or an SUV, there are some easy DIY maintenance for winter tips to follow to keep you safe and warm on road.
See where you are going
One of the easiest DIY tasks you can perform is to make sure your windshield as well as all other windows and mirrors are clean and grime-free. Use a good windshield fluid that won’t freeze and keep your windshield wiper fluid container full. The container is under the hood and is easily visible with a marker as to the lever the fluid should be kept. Invest in some quality wiper blades ($20 – $30 for a pair) and if you park your car outside overnight, leave the blades in the upright position to keep ice from forming on them and cracking the rubber. This will extend their life considerably.
Check your lights
Another easy DIY maintenance for winter job for you is to visually inspect the lighting system of your vehicle. Most new vehicles will have sensors telling you when a certain bulb has failed, but it is still smart to walk your vehicle regularly to make sure none of the bulb covers are cracked or broken. At dusk, turn on your headlights and aim them at a wall or garage door twenty feet away to make sure both lamps are casting light in symmetry. If not, you can adjust the angle of the light by opening the hood and accessing the headlamp housing there.
Check your motor oil
A final easy DIY maintenance for winter idea is to stay on top of all of your vehicle’s fluids, not just the windshield fluid. You can check the motor oil level easily. Open the hood and find the motor oil stick. With the engine off and cool, remove the stick and wipe it clean with a shop rag. Replace the dipstick all the way and then remove again. You want the oil on the stick to be within the range of markers on the gauge at the bottom. If you feel up to the task of changing your own motor oil, use a 5W 30 or 10W 30 weight oil. These oils run better in the cold. Check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
With these easy DIY Maintenance for Winter tips, keeping your car safe and running properly is no problem and driving in winter’s sometimes nasty conditions will be a much safer endeavor.
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