Posted by & filed under Maintenance.

Is your car ready for the winter? In Minnesota the cold months can bring harsh weather and below freezing temperatures. Making sure your car is prepped is an important part of car ownership and can save you time and money down the road. No one wants to break down in the snow!

Here are three easy things that every car owner can do at home to prepare their car for winter:

  • Replacement of wiper blades
  • Filling windshield washer fluid (use a winter-safe fluid!)
  • Checking tire pressure

These three tasks are simple, yet can significantly help your car in a cold weather climate. Good wipers and full washer fluid (see below) can greatly increase a driver’s safety by allowing maintain a completely clear field of vision while driving.

The best option to completely prepare your car for winter is to schedule an appointment with Signal Garage. Every car is different, so we have no set “winterization” routine. Our trained techs will do a complete inspection of your vehicle and advise what needs to be done to make the car as safe and reliable as possible for the winter season.

Some things that we check with every pre-winter inspection include:

  • Antifreeze- we test the antifreeze to ensure it will protect your engine in the case of extreme cold weather. That’s important to consider; last December it was -17°! If your antifreeze is old, it will not protect your engine in cases of extreme chill. This can lead to leaks, part failures, and even engine damage.
  • Tires- we look at tire wear and pressure. Tires are one of the most important components to safe driving in the winter. Tire pressure tends to drop in cold weather. This can affect traction and tire wear as well as increase the risk of a blowout. Proper tread depth and properly inflated tires make the world of difference when it comes to snow traction. If you don’t have enough tread on your tires the chances of an avoidable accident happening are much higher. We also check tire pressure and look for possible leaks in low tires- cold winter air causes the rubber of your tires to contract and can make slow leaks much worse. It is better to fix any tire leaks or buy new tires before winter to avoid changing a tire in the cold and snow. Are you considering snow tires? Feel free to ask Avi, Ethan, or Shawn. We would be happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages that come along with snow tires.
  • Washer Fluid- Frozen washer fluid is a problem we run into every winter and is easily avoided. Frozen washer fluid will stop your washer system from working, and could potentially block your sight of the road. It can also damage the washer pump, the reservoir, and the lines, which can be an expensive issue. Use up your existing washer fluid, then call us for an appointment. We will inspect your car for winter and fill the system with a winter-safe fluid that won’t freeze until -20°. If you need your fluid filled before your appointment simply stop by and we can top it off for you.
  • Steering and Suspension Components- these parts are not necessarily susceptible to failure from the cold, but in the case of slippery roads loose parts can be a major safety hazard. It’s important to check the wear of these parts before winter.
  • General Inspection- last but not least, a general inspection is key! We know the fear of breaking down in the cold and do everything we can to ensure that doesn’t happen. We wouldn’t our family breaking down in the snow; we don’t want our customers to either. Our techs are extra careful with pre-winter inspections and check your fluids, belts, hoses, steering and suspensions, and more.

Regular maintenance and inspections are the vital to avoiding breakdowns no matter the weather. Once you’ve had your pre-winter inspection, be sure to remember your oil and maintenance service and vehicle inspection every 3000-5000 miles (depending on the type of oil used in your vehicle).

We’ve laid out three easy tasks you can do to prepare your vehicle for the cold weather, but you can always bring your car into Signal Garage and let us take care of it for you. Remember, winter is coming!