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Cold Weather Car Care

Pumpkin Spice…and Everything Else Autumn Brings

We have all noticed the seasonal shift recently.  It’s cooler and darker in the mornings.  The leaves are changing colors. The Colorado high country has already experienced snow in the upper elevations.  Even the animals and insects know that it’s time to start preparing for winter!

Fall is a very busy time of year.  Your wardrobe needs a winter update.  Your house needs winterized.  Your yard and garden need special attention.  And, don’t forget that your car needs some special FTLC (Fall Tender Loving Care), as well!

Trent Pickering of Pickering Auto Service with two locations in the Denver metro area tells us, “We can help you with a lot of your auto’s seasonal chores.  We can run a check on your battery to see that it has enough cranking power to start on those really cold days. We can change out your wiper blades to more efficiently remove snow and ice from your windshield. Pickering’s can change your oil and check and replace your antifreeze, fix your heater and get you outfitted with new snow tires. We can even perform needed repairs on your four-wheel drive vehicles.”

As a special note to those with only two-wheel drive transportation, winterization is even more important. Winter can throw a lot at an auto owner.  There’s freezing temperatures, frigid rains, sleet, snow and ice. “In our Denver climate, two-wheel drive vehicles often get stuck in heavy snow or ice. Those owners really need to pay attention to their tire tread and plan for the worst-case scenario in case they do get stranded.  Additionally, most folks don’t know that it’s not all about tread depth when it comes to winter driving. When you don’t have actual “snow” tires installed on your car, the rubber in these non-winter tires can harden in freezing temperatures.  This decreases the ability for the tire to grip the road and provide much-needed traction.”

Below is a general to-do list to get you ready for winter driving:

Inspect your tires and/or install snow tires.
On kbb.com they offer this easy hack for checking thread depth: To determine whether there is enough tread on your tires for safe driving, take a penny and insert it into one of the grooves between the treads. Lincoln’s head needs to be facing you and his head should be upside down. Do this in 10-15 areas of the tire. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, the tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch, meaning the tire is dangerous. If a portion of Lincoln’s head is not visible, your tire is ok.

Make sure your tire pressure is at the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Tires can lose pressure in cold temps. Each 10 degree drop in temperature can lower your tire pressure by as much as one pound. Sometimes your TPMS light (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) which is an exclamation mark with parenthesis around it, will come on because the temperature decreases. This doesn’t always mean there is a flat tire or a hole in the tire, but sometimes just means that you need to top off the tire pressure. Always use the suggested pressure listed on the vehicle info sticker in the door jamb of the driver’s door.

Have your battery tested and/or install a new battery.
Your battery is a key component to whether your car starts when the weather gets extreme. The most ideal temp for maximum battery output is 80 degrees…you do the math! Winter can be hard on other electrical areas of the vehicle as well like the starter and alternator.

Change your oil.
Pickering’s Auto Service, our standard oil changes come with a BG MOA (Motor Oil Additive) which helps the engine with those cold starts on freezing mornings. This also helps with preventing sludging in the engine compartment over time.

Add coolant (also known as antifreeze).
This fluid is important in both hot and cold temperatures; but without it, the radiator can freeze in the winter and cause expensive damage to your vehicle. It is called coolant because it helps to keep the metal of the engine cool, however, it is also referred to as antifreeze because it is made up of compounds that do not let it freeze that can cause damage to the internal of the engine and other cooling system parts.

Have your belts and hoses inspected.
 It they fail you could be left with a long, cold walk home

Make sure your brakes are in good repair.
It can be hard enough to stop in the winter, bad brakes shouldn’t add to your worries!

Change out your wiper blades.

Top off all fluids.
And don’t forget to look into winter-grade windshield wiper fluids depending on how cold it gets in your area.

• Keep your car clean. 
Road chemicals can build up and cause rust.  Remember, it’s also very important to remove the snow from your entire vehicle, not only your windshield.  Snow from your roof and hood can shift or fly off, blocking your vision or even harming other cars or causing an accident.  Your headlights and brake lights can become obscured with snow and ice so that other drivers don’t have enough time to react – brush them off, too.

Once your car’s mechanical workings are ready for cold winter driving, don’t forget to pack a winter emergency kit that includes hats and gloves, blankets, water, snacks, a flashlight, tire inflator and pressure gauge, jumper cables, ice scraper, road flares, a shovel and kitty litter or sand for traction.  It is also wise to also have a fully charged cell phone along on every trip.

There is a lot to do to prepare for cold weather driving in the fall. Luckily, we have “pumpkin spice everything” to make it all worthwhile!

Call or make an appointment online with Pickering’s Auto Service today!

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