Your Vehicle Ready for Winter?
Maintenance tips to help your car survive winter
(ARA) - With winter right around the corner, we're preparing our
closets by packing away summer clothes and unpacking warm, winter
ones. Maybe you've even started replanting the greens around your
home to keep them safe through winter. This is also the best time
to start thinking about getting your vehicle ready for the cold
If you live where it snows, you know what snow, ice, loose gravel
and salt can do to your car. Minor scratches and nicks turn to rust,
your heater gets a workout it may not be prepared for, and your
windshield must deal with the temperature stress of a warm interior
and a freezing exterior.
Engineers call this temperature stress "thermal shock," and if you
have a small ding in your windshield, thermal shock can cause your
minor ding to turn into a major crack.
Repairing a small ding costs as little as $50 to $60. Replacing
a cracked windshield can cost hundreds of dollars; on some cars,
the cost may be even higher. "Once a ding or star (star-shaped with
points spreading out) expands, windshield replacement is often the
only option," said Leo Cyr, vice president for marketing at NOVUS
the damage is reported quickly, the odds are much improved that
NOVUS can save the windshield", says Cyr. "It is important to perform
the repair before dirt infiltrates into the break. If you can't
get to NOVUS right away, call your local NOVUS for a windshield
saver patch. These patches cover the break until it can be repaired
and do not obscure your vision."
NOVUS, with more than 20 million repaired windshields under its
belt, follows a "repair when possible and replace when necessary"
philosophy. The company invented windshield repair in 1972 and has
pioneered numerous innovations in the field.
To attain optimum consumer safety, Cyr recommends repairing a windshield
whenever possible, instead of replacing it. Repair not only saves
the windshield it preserves the factory's seal of windshield to
auto body. "Since passenger side air bags deploy off the windshield,
preserving the factory installation is an important safety consideration,"
explains Cyr. "Keeping the factory's original adhesive set also
helps avoid air and water leaks."
As any mechanic will tell you, checking fluids is the least expensive
and easiest preventive maintenance you can do. Change your oil frequently
(about every 3,000 miles), and don't forget to change your engine
coolant (diluted with 50 percent water) and transmission fluid,
about every two years. Pure engine coolants can freeze at zero degrees,
but mixing with water prevents freezing and provides great protection
for the cold weather.
Though fluids like oil and transmission are commonly checked, other
fluids integral to your vehicle's performance, may go unnoticed.
Power steering, brake, radiator and battery fluids also should be
filled to recommended levels.
Don't forget to top off windshield washer 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. Do not dilute
washer fluid with water since it can freeze during winter's harsh
temperatures. While you're at it, you might want to change the wiper
blades to prevent poor vision in already poor driving conditions.
Batteries and Corroded Cables
Winter mornings can wreak havoc on an older battery. 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 a mechanic check the battery
and cables to ensure your car starts quickly and reliably.
Anything Made of Rubber
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 about every 6,000 miles. If you live
in unusually snowy areas, you may want to consider snow tires for
added traction, or keep chains in your trunk or garage to help you
through heavy snowfall.
Rubber parts under your hood need maintenance, too. Radiator, heater
and vacuum hoses, among others, should be checked for cracks and
bulges. Also, inspect all belts for damages and splits.
Rust, Minor Scratches and Nicks
Road salt can turn a slight scratch or nick to an ugly rust spot
that's impossible to avoid. And it can spread. Avoid costly body
work by restoring spots before they turn into larger problems.
NOVUS' Paint Restoration System corrects many problem spots, from
key nicks to minor rust on metal. And since NOVUS uses an advanced
paint formula that matches not only the paint and color texture,
but also picks up the characteristics of the paint around the repair,
the new and old paint will shine equally, or fade, at the same rate
-- even on metallics, pearls and tri-coats.
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
Worn or misfiring spark plugs can affect how efficiently a vehicle
burns the fuel/air mixture, ultimately affecting engine performance.
Worn spark plugs waste gas and increase exhaust emissions, so have
them checked and replaced often.
Don't postpone needed brake work. It's dangerous to drive with poorly
performing brakes, especially in snowy weather. Postponing brake
service also can cause the cost of overhauling your brake system
Last, but not least, check your lights. Accidents can occur if you
can't see where you're driving, or if other drivers can't see you,
especially as we approach winter's short days and long nights.
Maintain your vehicle regularly to provide years of service with
better performance and safety.
For more information or to locate the nearest NOVUS technician,
call (800) 77-NOVUS (800-776-6887).
Courtesy of ARA Content, www.ARAcontent.com,