It is easy to overlook how dependent so many of us are on our vehicles. We rely on our vehicles to keep us and our passengers safe and comfortable as we journey to our many destinations. It is equally easy to forget that cars require seasonal maintenance in order to continue to deliver the performance we expect and depend on. As fall becomes winter, your vehicle’s maintenance needs will change. To keep your car running optimally in the colder months ahead, we recommend properly winterizing your vehicle. Between potential hazards like ice or snow and longer, darker nights, properly winterizing your vehicle will provide increased safety, comfort and piece of mind to you and your passengers.
Winter-readiness is a part of life and should be built into your vehicle maintenance routine so that, when the seasons change, you make it to your destination safely and with confidence. Packing your car with roadside emergency preparation items is also advised, especially in the winter months.
Whether you elect to winterize your vehicle yourself, or let Pep Boys perform your winter maintenance services, we recommend going the extra mile to get your vehicle winter ready. Here’s how:
When it comes to your safety on the road, the condition of your tires is paramount. Your tires are the first line of defense between yourself and the road. Check the tread depth of each tire (you can easily do this with a penny), inspect each tire for uneven wear and make sure your tires are in alignment. If you suspect your wheels are out of alignment, get them fixed. Misalignment of tires has many implications to the performance of your vehicle including uneven tire wear, poor fuel economy and an uncomfortable driving experience. Because tire pressure can drop in the cold weather, you should check your tire pressure regularly throughout the winter months and re-set to the manufacturers recommended PSI. You can lose 1-2 PSI for every 10*F drop in temperature so regularly checking this number is crucial. If the air pressure in your tires drops to below a specified number, your TPMS light will trigger. If your TPMS, or tire pressure monitoring system, engages, it is imperative that you add air to your tires or have them checked for a puncture.
Depending on the winter conditions in your area, winter tires might be the best option for you. Designed specifically for driving in more extreme winter conditions, these tires are constructed to provide extra traction, braking and handling when driving on roads that see heavy snow, ice and slush. An alternative to installing winter tires is purchasing winter chains.
Extreme cold weather is particularly tough on your vehicle’s battery. During periods of cold weather, your vehicle’s starter pulls more amperage in order to start. If your battery is already weak, this extra draw could result in a dead battery. Check the warranty on your battery to understand its life expectancy. If the end of its life is approaching, we recommend replacing your car battery before the cold winter months finish it off, leaving you stranded.
If your car battery is on the newer or somewhat-used end of the spectrum, we recommend having it inspected for leaks or corrosion build-up. Pep Boys’ Battery Protection Plan provides the complete assurance that our Professional Battery Installation remains trouble-free season after season.
Finally, if you have questions about the condition of your vehicle’s starting and charging system (which includes the battery, starter and alternator), make an appointment or stop by your local store for a free PROSTART Starting and Charging System Evaluation.
One of the few things we tend to remember when it comes to car maintenance is the importance of changing our motor oil. What we may not know is that an engine’s oil viscosity becomes thicker in cold weather. The thickened motor oil makes it more difficult for the engine oil to flow quickly to all of your engine’s vital components which can result in major problems if you use the wrong oil.
Check your owner’s manual for the proper oil temperature and viscosity rating to ensure that when getting your next oil change, or performing your own, the proper motor oil is used.
As odd as it sounds based on its name, coolant (also commonly referred to as antifreeze) actually generates heat as it circulates through your vehicle’s cooling system. It is due to this heat that, over time, coolant evaporates. It is important to check your coolant level. If you coolant level looks low, you may need a top off.
Pep Boys offers Comprehensive Coolant System Evaluation designed to diagnose any issues that may exist within your cooling system. To guard your system in between flushes, we offer a Drain and Fill Service Package. Check the specifications set by your vehicle’s manufacturer to determine whether it is time for a Complete Coolant Chemical Flush and Exchange.
Belts and hoses are heavily used engine components that experience extreme wear and tear. As the weather changes, the tendency of these components to crack, swell and become laden with dry rot increases. Check your hoses and belts for wear and tear or bring them to your local store for an evaluation.
High-functioning wipers are imperative in the winter months. How else can you effectively wipe away the snow that is sure to amount on your windshield? The heat of the summer is known to actively deteriorate the quality of your wiper blades, leaving them in a state that is the complete opposite of winter ready. If your wipers are not wiping clean on your windshield, they should be replaced. Check your blades. If they are worn, ripped, torn, cracked or chattering on contact with your windshield, they will not provide you with the streak free wiping you will need to be safe in the winter. Always replace windshield wipers in pairs.
Are your headlights shining as brightly as they should be? Fully operational headlights are critical to safe winter driving. If you believe your headlights are candidates for restoration, try our Pep Boys See and Be Safe 3M Headlight Restoration Service Package.