October is Fall Car Care Month, and it’s a perfect opportunity for you to get your ride ready for winter before that frigid weather moves in.
Most of us wait until we experience an issue with our car before we take it to a mechanic, but many times, repairs would be easier and cheaper if we’d only practiced preventative maintenance. Regular maintenance checks and proper winterization can save you a lot of time and headaches this winter.
Visibility and traction are two of the biggest issues drivers face in winter. Check the following before they’re a problem.
Wipers: Your windshield wipers should clear 100% of any debris or precipitation when they swipe across your window. Do you have streaks? Now is the perfect time to replace less-than-perfect blades, so you don’t run into an issue when you get caught on the road during that first snow.
Washer fluid: We’ve all done it – when that first snow or frost hits, we push the washer fluid button in the hopes that just a little liquid will help clear the windshield, and then…nothing. No windshield washer fluid. Fill your car’s windshield washer fluid today. It will make that first snow easier to take.
Lights: Those headlights may look fine on a clear fall evening but in a snowstorm? That might be a different story. Check your headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights. Not only does it increase your visibility while driving, but it also makes you more visible to other drivers, reducing the chance for an accident.
Tires: The type and tread of your tires may be fine for most of the year, but in the Baltimore/D.C. area, it is always recommended that you invest in good all-season radial tires. If you’re in Western Maryland, we recommend having a set of chains in your car and driving with snow tires. Check your tire pressure frequently in the fall and winter months, as this becomes more important. Don’t overinflate. It’s better to be on the low end of recommended tire pressure during the winter months.
Brakes: If you are experiencing any reduction in brake functionality, have them checked immediately. Even if you aren’t, taking your car in for a “check-up” with a professional technician is never a bad idea.
Fluids: if you aren’t a car buff, it’s easy to forget just how many essential fluids are under our hood. When you fill up your windshield washer fluid, check your brake, transmission, antifreeze, and power steering fluids. Don’t know how? Check with a mechanic.
Battery and Engine Checklist
While at the mechanic’s:
Battery: Your battery may seem fine all through the spring and summer, but you may walk out to your car after the first hard frost or bout of winter weather and be unable to start it. To keep from getting stranded this winter, ask your mechanic to check your car battery to make sure that it’s in good shape.
Engine Hoses: An inspection by your mechanic should include all the rubber hoses of your engine. So much easier and safer to replace worn hoses now, than when one blows in the middle of winter.
Emergency Kit Checklist
Keeping an emergency kit in your car during the winter months is a smart idea that could potentially save your life. A few things you should have in your kit include:
- First aid kit
- Water and non-perishable food
- Something for Traction: traction mats, cat litter, sand
- Snow shovel
- Hats, gloves, scarves, hand warmer packets
- Flashlight (extra batteries)
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
Are You an Insured Driver?
Does your car insurance need a tune-up before winter hits too? Do you have a less-than-perfect driving record and are looking for affordable coverage? Gebco’s car insurance coverage is the insurance you need, at a great rate.
For all of our insurance offerings, visit our home page or call our offices: 800-464-3226.