Category Archives: Automotive Maintenance

WINTER CHECKLIST FOR YOUR CAR

Check your coolant -

Make sure you have a true 50/50 mixture of distilled water and antifreeze to prevent the fluid from freezing in your radiator and make sure that your radiator cap is functioning correctly.

Check your battery -

The chemical reactions required to generate power in a car battery slow down in extremely cold temperatures, and your car requires more current from the battery to start the engine. To avoid a car that won’t start on a cold morning, run a battery load test to see if your battery has enough juice. Check battery cables and terminals for cracks and corrosion. 

Fill your wiper fluid -

Having enough wiper fluid is crucial to keeping your windshield free of ice, snow, salt, and mud. Make sure you use a premixed wiper fluid.  Do not use water or mix wiper fluid with water.

Replace your wiper blades -

Most blades are only good for six months to a year, so chances are you need new ones. While you’re at it, you might want to consider choosing a heavy-duty wiper blade specifically designed for winter conditions.

Inspect (and maybe replace) your tires -

Tires with worn treads are a serious hazard in winter conditions. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of snowfall, consider getting snow tires, which are made of softer rubber that remains flexible in colder temperatures, and have treads specially designed to keep their grip in snow and ice.

If you have all-season tires, check to make sure the tread is at least 5/32” for the best winter traction. If your tread is less than 3/32”, your tires will offer virtually zero traction in snow and be prone to hydroplaning in rain, and should be replaced regardless of the time of year.  Here’s an easy way to test your tread: insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If no part of Lincoln’s head is covered, your tires need to be replaced. Flip the penny over and do the same test with the Lincoln Memorial facing down. If any part of the building is covered, your tires are ready to tackle winter weather. No matter whether your tires are new or older, make sure they’re properly inflated for winter conditions. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop at a rate of approximately 1 PSI per 10 degrees, so check your tire pressure regularly to make sure it stays at the level recommended by the manufacturer. The usual recommended tire pressure is 30-35 PSI depending on manufacturers recommendation, but check your owner’s manual for the exact number. And don’t forget to check your spare!

Change your oil -

Your engine needs lubrication to run, but cold weather thickens oil and reduces its ability to circulate through the engine, so make sure you have fresh oil to keep things running smoothly.

Check your belts and hoses -

Cold temperatures can weaken the belts and hoses that keep your engine running. Prepare for winter by checking all belts and hoses for cracks or signs of wear and tear, and replace them if needed.

Put together an emergency kit to carry in your car -

Be ready for the unexpected by equipping your car with emergency supplies including blankets, flares, reflective triangles, a jack, a first-aid kit, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, shovel, food, water, matches, tool kit, cell phone charger and kitty litter or sand for traction if you get stuck.

Winter Vehicle Pest Control

In the colder months pests such as rats, raccoons and even insects may look to make a home in your car.  To keep pests out the best thing is to use preventative measures such as not leaving food or drinks in the car, not parking under trees or on dirt and not transporting plants in your car.  Pests are sometimes present because of environmental conditions such as storing pet food in your garage or with colder weather the warmth of your engine.

If you find your vehicle is occupied by something other than you or your intended passengers, here are some tips on what to do:

Give the vehicle a thorough look inside and out to determine what type of bug you are dealing with.  You should also check out the areas where your vehicle is regularly parked. This could be both at home or at work, there will most likely be a larger infestation of whatever you’re dealing within very close proximity.

Ants
Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place the cotton wherever you have an infestation.  Essential oils can be dangerous when misused, be cautious if you are pregnant or have small children.  You can also try Ant Traps such as Hot Shot Max Attraxs Ant Traps.  These premade ant traps are great because they are discreet and child proof. They would work perfectly for slipping under the seat of your vehicle or placing in the corner of your trunk. The poison starts working immediately and the traps can last for up to six months.

Roaches
Try Trapper Max Glue Traps.  It is a natural and toxin free way of trapping pests. The trap is rectangular and measure 4.5” x 6.5” which makes it a great size for just about any spot in your vehicle.  Traps should be placed beneath the floorboards of your car if accessible, beneath seats, in the corners of the trunk and in the boot

Wasps and Bees
If possible, try to find a beekeeper to come and remove the bees from your car and safely relocate them to a proper home. It is inadvisable to kill bees as they are currently endangered, and a lot of our food supply depends on them. With wasps, hire a professional exterminator if at all possible. Wasps are highly motivated to protect their nest and they do not die like bees do after a sting.

Rats, Mice, and Rodents
Use Western Red Cedar shavings around where the vehicle is parked. These wood shavings contain phenols which kill rodents, though most will hit the road before they come close to dying.  You can also use ultrasonic rodent deterrents or rodent traps.

What To Do If There Is A Bug Or Rodent In Your Car While Driving
Bug related car accidents cause over 650,000 crashes every year! Stay calm. Pull over to the side of the road or a parking lot if it is safe to do so and get out of the car. Open your windows and doors and shoo the pest out of the car. If you have a spider, use a paper document to remove.

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