FluidsAs any mechanic will tell you, checking and renewing your fluids is the least expensive and easiest preventive maintenance you can do. Change your oil and oil filter* – Clean, high quality engine oil goes a long way in protecting the motor in cold start situations. Change your oil frequently (every 3,000 miles forColorado driving).
Antifreeze – Have your John’s Auto Care car mechanic check the condition of your antifreeze.* We’ll use a tester to check the mixture for its freezing point.** A thorough cooling system check will include a leak test, if a leak is suspected.** This is where your mechanic will put the system under pressure to visually check for leaks.
Consider a Coolant Flush – Replacing your engine’s coolant is cheap insurance against extreme temperatures. Over time, antifreeze can actually generate a weak electrical current, which can then cause oxidation and eventually failure inside of your coolant system. Keeping everything fresh inside will put less stress on your vehicle’s hardware and save you serious money in the long run.
Check Your Wiper Fluid* – If you’ve ever driven after salt trucks have come through to melt snow and ice, you know the importance of windshield washer fluid. Check that your windshield fluid is made to withstand freezing conditions and is full.* Don’t forget to check the spray nozzles of your windshield-washer system.* Sometimes, they get blocked by wax or debris. Use a needle or pin to clear blocked nozzles.
Other Fluids – Power steering, brake, and battery fluids should also be checked and filled to recommended levels.*
Anything Made of Rubber
Tires – Worn, bald or badly aligned or balanced tires can mean accidents on ice, rain or snow. Have your tires checked for proper inflation* and alignment**, and rotate them every 6,000 miles**. If you live in the foothills or the mountains, you may want to consider Snow Tires for added traction, or keep chains in your trunk.
Check Tire Tread Condition* – Quality tire tread sheds the snow, ice and road grime more quickly, providing better traction for improved safety. If the treads are worn, replace them. Better yet, exchange them for a set of snow tires which have treads that provide better traction and are equipped to handle extreme winter driving conditions (see our article on Snow Tires).
Inspect Belts and Hoses* – Rubber parts under your hood need maintenance, too. Cracked, frayed or worn out rubber won’t stand up to temperature extremes. Radiator, heater and vacuum hoses, and all belts should be inspected.* If any show signs of cracking, rotting or softness replace BEFORE they break on the road.
Visually inspect all lights* – You can have a friend help you check your marker bulbs, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals and especially your headlights and hazard lights. If your headlights seem dull, ask us about our headlight restoration service. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference it can make.
Check Wiper Blades* – Make sure that your wiper blades are in top condition, to fully clear your windshield, and back window if the vehicle is equipped. Road salt and slush can jeopardize visibility. Check wipers for streaking. Purchase winter blades to cut through snow and ice.
Check Your BatteryWinter mornings can wreak havoc on an older battery, the cold making it work much harder. The average life of a battery is 3 1/2 years. If your battery is older than that, it’s probably time to replace. Have your John’s Auto Care auto mechanic check your battery and cables* to ensure your car starts quickly and reliably.
Boots ‘n Brakes
Brakes – Have your brakes checked* and don’t postpone needed brake work. Are your rotors warped or cracked? Do they have deep grooves or are the pads worn close to their minimum clearance? Your vehicle will be experiencing harsher conditions soon, and it’s dangerous to drive with poorly performing brakes, especially in snowy weather. Replacing brake pads early will cost you significantly less than waiting until the rotors need to be replaced!
Boots – Front-wheel drive vehicles equipped with CV (constant velocity) joints should have the boots checked for rips and cracks.* Boots protect CV joints, but when the joints are exposed to salt, ice and snow, they can damage the joint. Replacing a joint can costs hundreds of dollars, but replacing a boot costs a small fraction of that.