Quandary resistantly readies for winter
How do I get my car ready for winter?
Is it that time of year already? I suppose I have been gnawing on more golden leaves lately.
While I may not need to walk my hooves in for a tune-up, winterizing your vehicle is essential to make sure it lasts through more than our first snowstorm. One of your first stops should be to pick up some snow tires. I know you are an expert driver and have been navigating these hills since long before snow tires were even invented, but now they exist, so why not use them? If you do happen to get in an accident and find yourself lacking snow tires, this simple fact could cost you a pretty penny.
Once your wheels are ready to start rolling you will also want to switch out your oil. Changing to a thinner oil will allow it to keep moving through your engine once the temperatures drop. Some of our lowland friends don’t need to worry about this, but anywhere that temperatures can dip below freezing, new oil becomes very important. If you don’t make the move and we see a chilly winter this year, it’s very possible that this summer could get warmer than you expected (read: You’ll have burnt up your engine by then).
The next liquid you’ll need more of will be your engine coolant. For the winter you’ll want to use one that has ethylene glycole. Also, realize that every coolant system is a combination of water and coolant. In the winter you have to change the ratio. Your owner’s manual should be able to dial that in for you, but if you have any questions check with a pro. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the typical winter ratio is 60 percent coolant, 40 percent water, but your vehicle could be different, so check before conducting your chemistry experiment.
Now, just like an old goat on a cold morning, your car’s battery is going to feel a little less frisky, as well. Cold weather automatically diminishes your battery’s capacity (the same’s true for your cellphone), so to minimize the chances you have to bang on your neighbor’s door before sunrise, check your cables, connections and do a full inspection on the battery.
I’m sure you’ve all cruised down I-70 during a snowstorm and found yourself stuck in that horrible spot next to a semi where your windshield never seems to get clear of the crud the mass next to you is kicking up. Well, there’s no solution for this one, I’m sorry to say, but you can cut through the nastiness a little quicker if you have windshield wiper fluid that is made for cold weather. The downside to this visual aid is that the heavier chemicals can screw up your paint job. Check what chemicals are used in the fluid before purchasing to ensure you don’t have to repaint your baby come spring.
My last tip on the topic: Even if your motor is purring like a kitten in October that doesn’t mean you’ll still be on top of the world in those May snowstorms. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case.
In last week’s Quandary column, I stated that only the service department at the Dillon Marina will be open after September. In truth, the marina will begin winterizing operations, but the launch dock and services will remain open until Oct. 18. Apologies for my bald-faced lies.
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