Winter Vehicle Check-up Saves Money and Stress

Jan 05, 2010, 13:01 ET from Car Care Council

Winter Vehicle Prep Can Also Save Many Hours of Frustration

BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With cold winter weather bearing down on much of the country, motorists can avoid breaking down and being stranded by investing a little time on preventive maintenance of their vehicle, according to the Car Care Council. Peace of mind while driving is a powerful defense against the ravages of winter.

The Car Care Council recommends some quick tips to prepare your vehicle for winter:

  • Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Since batteries don't always give warning signs before they fail completely, it's wise to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  • Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. The mixture of antifreeze and water is typically 50:50. As a reminder, don't make the mistake of adding 100 percent antifreeze.
  • Change to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. Drivers in sub-zero driving temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full, decreasing the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Tire pressure should also be checked, as tires will lose pressure when temperatures drop -- consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.
  • If you're due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing to let the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.
  • If you live in a place with especially severe winter conditions, consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades.

For more detailed information about caring for your vehicle, check out the Car Care Council's popular digital Car Care Guide at

About the Car Care Council:

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

SOURCE Car Care Council