Hello, it’s me—the faithful friend who ferries you all over town. I know your holiday shopping list is a mile long, but I’m wondering if you could squeeze in a few extras for me?
After all, what your car needs in winter is also what you need. When I can do my job well, your driving experience will be easier, safer and more pleasant.
Here is what your humble car needs in winter:
1. A maintenance plan review. Your owner’s manual will list what kinds of maintenance you should schedule after a certain number of miles or years. I think you left your manual in the glove compartment. (If so, good luck finding it among all those takeout menus and tissue packets!)
2. A battery test. Winter takes a toll on batteries. And I don’t want us to get stuck somewhere—especially without what I talk about in tip number seven.
My recommendation? Have a pro check my battery with a quick test to see if it’s up to the task of winter driving. Good news: Many auto supply stores will do this for free.
3. A tire check. Worn tires aren’t safe for either of us, so take a look at the old rubbers. (And if you haven’t put on my snow tires yet, let’s get moving already!)
4. A coolant check. Coolant (a.k.a. antifreeze) keeps your radiator and engine working smoothly. An inexpensive tester from an auto shop can let you know if I have enough.
5. Some air in my tires. Everything good with the tires? Then check out my air pressure. Cold air often causes tire pressure to drop—and that can make tires unsafe and reduce your fuel efficiency. (Bet you didn’t think I cared about your bottom line!)
6. A test of my wipers. There’s nothing worse than windshield wipers that leave behind blurry streaks. If that’s the case, it’s time to invest in new wipers. Now is also a good time to top off the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter washer fluid that won’t freeze.
7. An emergency kit. I hope we never have to use it, but you never know. That’s why it’s critical to have a fully stocked emergency kit.
8. A spiff up. Salty roads are tough on me, so spray me down once in a while. I also wouldn’t mind a little vacuum. Food crumbs and pet hair are not becoming on me.
Thanks a million for thinking about what your car needs in winter. I always knew we made a good team.