November Shop Talk

Since winter is rapidly approaching, maybe a discussion about car care and driving is appropriate.
This is definitely the time of year to see that your auto or truck is up to snuff concerning colder weather and all that entails. I always recommend having the fluids checked and changed when needed at this time of year and most certainly have the battery and starting system examined.
Cold weather puts much more strain on the electrical system and battery.
For example, a marginal battery will often work just fine in warm weather, but the first hint of cold and you quite possibly will need a jump start to fire the engine. This is because the starter draws a lot more current when the oil is thick caused by the colder temperature.
Some vehicles owner’s manuals actually call for lower viscosity oil ( 5w-20 vs. 10w-30 for instance) during colder temperature.
Regardless, it is always a good idea to see that the electrical system is in good condition as all modern vehicles use lots of sensitive electronics throughout the auto. These require very finite voltages and when these voltages are compromised, it can cause all kinds of gremlins in the electronics.
Another area to examine is the tires and related mechanics. Tires that are fine during the summer months often are not as good on snow and ice and this can compromise you and your loved ones safety. I personally have purchased spare rims, often 100 dollars or less at the auto recycler, to have studded tires installed so that when bad weather is expected, all I have to do is swap the extra set of tires onto my vehicle. Only takes a few minutes and I’m ready for the worst. It saves mounting and rebalancing twice a year and the spares take little room when not used.
Additionally, when swapping the rims, the brakes and steering components can be easily inspected for wear and deterioration.
This is also a good time to replace the wiper blades as summer sun breaks down the rubber and makes them pretty much useless for the rainy season.
Another thing that might be appropriate is to throw a coat of fresh wax on the old buggy. Winter weather is hard on the paint and a fresh coat of wax will greatly improve the paints ability to resist the harsh weather. It also gives you a chance to examine how the paint is holding up and to take care of any small scratches or blemishes that can become bigger ones after a long cold winter.
Lastly, it’s a good time to think about slowing down your driving speed as wet and possibly icy roads can greatly increase your chance of an accident.
As a person who routinely always pushed the speed limits as a younger person, I have since discovered that 5 miles above the speed limit between here and Longview, for instance only got me there 2 minutes quicker. I now leave 5 minutes sooner and arrive with time to spare, plus I don’t have to keep an eye out for the ever present officer of the law!
As a last thought, it is a good idea to not use your cruise control when the chance of ice is present as once you start slipping, the cruise can cause the vehicle to really go out of control.
Happy Motoring!

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