Properly Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter with Tips from Heinold and Feller

By: Contributor Last Updated: November 12, 2012

Heinold-Feller-Tire-CheckThe time has come to winterize your car. Here are some tips to help you keep your vehicle in good working order this winter.

1. Get the right kind of oil change. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures. Check out Heinold & Feller’s facebook page to claim a special offer this month for a $22.99 standard oil change.


2. Make sure you can see. When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. Also, fill up your windshield washer reservoir with fluid. Check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.

3. Give your battery a little TLC. This is an ideal time of year to make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, contact Heinold and Feller to have them test its ability to hold a charge.

4. Examine your belts and hoses. At your next oil change ask your Heinold and Feller technician to check the belts and hoses for wear and tear. Cold weather can do a number on these parts, so they deserve attention.

5. Check your tire pressure. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive, especially in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in tires often drops as the weather gets colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. Your owner’s manual will tell you what your target tire pressure should be.

6. Think about switching to snow tires. You might want to improve traction even more by investing in winter tires and using them over the next few months instead of your usual all-season tires. Heinold and Feller has a great selection of winter tires available, and you can find valuable coupons toward the purchase of four tires on their website.

7. Do you have four-wheel drive? If so, it’s important to check that your four-wheel-drive system is working correctly. Be sure that the system engages and disengages easily, and that all drivers in your household know how and when to activate the system.

8. Get the antifreeze mixture just right. Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator to prevent the mixture from freezing. It’s easy to check the status of the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store.

9. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk this winter so you are always prepared: a blanket, extra boots, gloves, and a set of warm clothes, water and food, an ice scraper, small shovel, flashlight, windshield washer fluid, windshield wipers, flares, jumper cables, a tool kit, a tire gauge, a spare tire, tire-changing equipment, a first-aid kit, paper towels, a bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter for additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.

10. Know what to do if you get stranded. Don’t wander away from your car unless you’re completely sure about where you are and how far away help is. Light two flares and situate them at each end of your vehicle to call attention to yourself. Put on the extra clothes and use the blanket to stay warm. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you’re waiting for help. Leave at least one window open a bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut.