Winter, with its cold and wet weather, drives most of us indoors until spring. But before you light the fire and settle in with a mug of chocolate, take some time to see to your car’s cold-weather needs. Mopar has some tips and a maintenance checklist for getting ready for winter driving.
After a long, hot summer on the road, your brake pads might be ready to retire. Check them, along with the rotors, calipers and parking brake, for wear, and replace worn-out parts before wet roads and poor traction are added to the mix.
Winter means rain and snow, so check the tread depth on your tires to make sure they can channel moisture on the road away from the contact patch. If you’re not sure if your tires will last until spring, don’t take a chance––replace them now.
Batteries fail more often in the winter than in the summer, so check yours for corroded posts, and look for a cracked or bulging case.
Wiper blades take a beating from the summer sun and from ozone and air pollution. Get new ones before the rains come.
Winter is pothole season, so make sure your shocks and struts are in good condition. Do the bounce test by pushing down on each corner of the car; if the car bounces more than once the shock on that corner might need to be replaced.
Change your engine oil, and if you live where it gets really cold, change the viscosity, as well.
Check all the fluids––ATF, differential oil, antifreeze, brake fluid––and refill or replace as necessary. Be sure to top off the windshield washer fluid.
Check all engine belts and hoses. Just because the weather is freezing doesn’t mean your car can’t throw a belt and overheat.
Check your air filter, which has been stopping summer dust for months. Check it frequently during the winter if you drive in the rain a lot; moist air carries a lot of contaminants that can clog the filter faster than if the weather were dry.
Shorter days and cloudy weather bring reduced visibility, so make sure all your headlights and taillights are working. Check the alignment of your headlights to avoid blinding oncoming traffic.